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Liebherr premieres hydrogen wheel loader

Liebherr has unveiled what it says is the world’s first prototype large wheel loader with a hydrogen engine

Liebherr’s L 566 H hydrogen-powered large wheel loader was presented at its Bischofshofen, Austria plant, in front of business and political representatives, the company announced. 

Following extensive studies, Liebherr says the new technology was identified as a solution for operating large vehicles that are difficult to electrify without CO2 emissions. 

“Battery-electric solutions are often suitable for smaller vehicles up to 15-tons (13.6-tonnes) however, the situation is different with machines that have an operating weight of up to 40-tons (36.3-tonnes) and high energy requirements,” Liebherr says. 

“Hydrogen reciprocating piston engines prove to be ideal in this case.” 

Liebherr’s hydrogen engines produce zero greenhouse gas emissions and almost zero nitrogen oxides, while being highly efficient, the company says. 

Another advantage of the hydrogen engine is that the interfaces are comparable to those of a diesel engine – thermally and mechanically. 

“This represents a significant step forward in the development of sustainable large-scale machinery,” Liebherr says. 

The hydrogen engines are manufactured at the Liebherr’s Components product segment engine plant in Bulle, Switzerland. 

At the same time as the wheel loader premiere, Liebherr also inaugurated a hydrogen filling station, which it says is the first in the state of Salzburg, Austria. 

“To make progress in hydrogen research, we need to have access to hydrogen,” Liebherr Bischofshofen chief technical officer Herbert Pfab says. 

“We built this filling station to further advance our goals for decarbonising construction machinery.” 

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