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Caterpillar plans hydrogen-hybrid demonstration based on C13D engine platform

A yellow engine against a white background.
The 13-litre C13D engine will provide the basis for an off-highway hydrogen-hybrid demonstration project. Caterpillar

Caterpillar will use its new C13D engine platform in the development of an advanced hydrogen-hybrid power solution demonstration project.

Starting in the first quarter of 2024, Cat will develop a transient-capable system for off-highway applications. The project will 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.

"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, 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 will be the prime contractor on the project, providing engine research and development as well as system integration. Other industry and academic collaborators will provide additional specialist expertise. Work will take place at Cat facilities in Illinois and Texas.

Support and partial funding for the project will come from the U.S. Department of Energy. It is one of 45 projects across 18 states and Washington, D.C., receiving funding to advance research, development, demonstration, and deployment in several areas critical to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transportation sector.

The hydrogen-hybrid demonstration project is taking advantage of the recently introduced, 13-litre C13D engine platform. Diesel versions of the engine offer eight power ratings from 456 to 690 hp, with up to 3,200 Nm of peak torque. It provides up to a 20 percent increase in power, and up to 25 percent more low-speed torque, over the previous generation of Cat diesel engines in its power class.

An inline six-cylinder engine, the C13D enables the use of renewable liquid fuels like 100 percent HVO, B100 distilled biodiesel, and even up to B100 standard biodiesel when working with a Cat dealer. In addition to using hydrogen, its core architecture is designed for the future development of spark-ignited natural gas capabilities.

The C13D will be available for early OEM pilots in 2025 and is scheduled for production in 2026.

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