Looking into the crystal ball for engine maker Cummins, Andrew Booth, Manager On-Highway Business Cummins WA, was speaking at the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association event about future product from Cummins.
Cummins will also be continuing with its a joint venture with Eaton and its automated manual transmissions including the Endurant XD Pro, which appeared this year in the new Kenworth K220.
There are other internal combustion engines, using hydrogen and various gases, but also electrolysers to create hydrogen to power fuel cells, there’s also, batteries, electric motors, inverters and software. Meritor are developing e-axles for the business.
“Effectively, what does all this mean?” said Andrew. “At the end of the day we want technology to match the power we use today. We want to do that in a staged and rational manner. The best way to do that is to ensure that we do not tear up the truck design. We need minimal impact to transition us to a net zero future.
“Let’s be real, today we use internal combustion engines, and we are advancing the diesel internal combustion engine. I’m sure many people were at the Brisbane Truck Show and would have seen our recently announced, next generation X15 platform. Part of that is the X15H hydrogen combustion engine. These are the practical solutions for decarbonisation, where we can change the energy source for the engine while still having the same powertrain combined behind it.”
The implementation of these kinds of technologies can go ahead when Australia gets the kind of renewable green hydrogen fuel infrastructure the industry will need to support the number of trucks on the road the economy requires. Cummins is working towards the position where it can supply the right technology for the applications the industry needs.
The new X15 is a completely new engine from Cummins. It has been designed from the ground up as a platform for a series combustion engines using various fuels. The basic design, which features a modern sculpted block, can be fitted with a variety of different cylinder heads for different fuels. For the diesel or hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) version, the whole package is reckoned to be 225kg lighter than the current X15 we have today. The X15D, diesel version, will be available up to 660hp.
The hydrogen engine, the X15H, will use spark ignition and a renewable gas or biogas engine which is included in the new X15 family as well. These engines will be able run on various forms of gas. Depending on the feedstock used to make any of these gases, these can be capable of a 90 per cent reduction in carbon emissions. These gas engines will not be able to produce the level of horsepower available in the diesel version of the range and will probably be available at around 510hp.
“This is a next generation engine, and with the upgrade in materials and design, we’ve been able to go forward, in terms of reducing tail pipe emissions,” said Andrew. “This is not our first foray into hydrogen. We have hydrogen engines in production today. We started with the X7, and the X10 which is our new mid bore engine design, and then the X15. These are spark ignited direct injection engines.
“For hydrogen power there are two applications, one is the internal combustion engine, which fits in the same envelope as your traditional diesel engine today, mounted to an automated manual or manual transmission. We will mount the hydrogen packs on the back of the cab. The other way forward is the FCV, the fuel cell electric vehicle. This will have the hydrogen fuel cell stack in the engine bay. Then there will also be battery packs, hydrogen tanks and traction motors. We’re not going to be changing the base truck design and will be integrating the technology with a design which helps improve that transition towards zero.
“This is all about how we reach destination zero. Diesel is not dead. We expect to keep diesel technology for another 20 to 30 years to come. But we are going to be phasing into lower carbon technologies in the next five to 10 years’ time we will be advancing and driving reductions in CO2 emissions as well as NOx and particulate matter in internal combustion engines.
“Whilst we start this journey, we need the government to start investing in new technology and into the grid system. So that, if you want a battery vehicle, you’ve got more capacity in the grid to deal with charging those vehicles, and then also other renewable fuel infrastructure. There’s no point, producing hydrogen if it’s coming from fossil fuels in the first place.”