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Caterpillar developing hydrogen-hybrid power solution 

By Adam Freill   

Construction Equipment Equipment Technology Green Construction

Starting in early 2024, the company’s advanced hydrogen-hybrid project will leverage the versatile new Cat C13D engine platform for off-highway vehicles.

Cat C13D engine. (Photo courtesy of Caterpillar)

Caterpillar is launching a three-year program to demonstrate an advanced hydrogen-hybrid power solution for off-highway vehicles, which it will build on its new Cat C13D engine platform.

The manufacturer says that, starting in the first quarter of 2024, it will develop a transient-capable system to demonstrate how state-of-the-art control systems and electric-hybrid components can help hydrogen-fueled engines meet or exceed the power density and transient performance of traditional diesel engines.

Caterpillar, which has has 35 years of enterprise experience in hydrogen fuels, will serve as the prime contractor on the project, providing engine research and development as well as system integration. As the project progresses, other industry and academic collaborators will be brought into the program to provide additional specialist expertise. The initiative will be delivered at Caterpillar facilities in Chillicothe, Ill., and San Antonio, Texas.

“Every off-highway application has its own unique duty cycles, lifecycle demands and performance expectations, and this complexity is driving the development of a wide range of power solutions for the energy transition,” said Steve Ferguson, senior vice-president of Caterpillar Industrial Power Systems. “One size does not fit all, which is why we’ve engineered flexibility into the C13D engine to serve as our platform of the future.”


Caterpillar’s hydrogen-hybrid demonstration project leverages the performance, packaging, and fuel flexibility engineered into the new 13-litre Cat C13D engine platform.

In March, diesel-powered versions of the Cat C13D engine were unveiled at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 construction exhibition in eight power ratings from 456 to 690 hp (340 to 515 kW) with up to 3,200 Nm of peak torque. The engine provides up to a 20 per cent increase in power and up to 25 per cent more low-speed torque over the previous generation of Cat diesel engines in its power class.

The inline, six-cylinder Cat C13D enables the use of renewable liquid fuels such as 100 per cent HVO, B100 Distilled Biodiesel, and even up to B100 Standard Biodiesel by working with the local Cat dealer. In addition to using hydrogen, its core architecture is designed for the future development of spark-ignited natural-gas capabilities.

Available for early OEM pilots in 2025 and scheduled for production in 2026, the Cat C13D engine is targeted for a wide range of off-highway equipment, including rock crushers, screeners, and grinders; trenchers; agriculture tractors, harvesters, self-propelled sprayers and woodchippers; material-handling equipment; and large industrial pumps.




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