Kohler Launches KDH Hydrogen Engine

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Standalone engine-builders Kohler recently unveiled a new direct injection, hydrogen-powered internal combustion engine based on its KDI 2504 TCR in a bid to reduce carbon emissions.

Like similar solutions from Toyota, Cummins, and other heavy-equipment power producers, the Kohler hydrogen engine isn’t a hydrogen fuel cell. Instead, it’s a conventional reciprocating piston engine – just one with an unconventional, low-emission fuel. Kohler says that “conventional architecture” makes the new KDH (think, “KD series – Hydrogen version”) is intended to be a drop-in replacement for the diesel KDI.

Kohler doesn’t make vehicles or gensets itself, of course – but the company’s OEM partners can expect high levels of compatibility with their existing platforms. Especially since the KDH uses the the same cooling circuit, power take-off and flywheel, engine mounting points, and intake line(s). That means no major changes will be required to fit the new H engine into existing compartments, making it easy for manufacturers to quickly offer lower emission versions of their existing diesel-powered products.

According to Kohler, the after treatment system (ATS) it’s applied to the KDH engine reduces particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxide (NOx), and hydrocarbon (HC) emissions to “negligible levels” at the tail pipe, allowing the engine to be classified as “zero emission” per most agencies’ definitions.

“We look forward to unveiling this evolving technology and working closely with our partners to drive innovation, sustainability, and decarbonization in the industry,” says Vincenzo Perrone, president of Kohler Engines.

Kohler Energy

The new hydrogen KDH engine and its first-ever hydrogen power system. Image by Kohler.

At the same time, the company announced that it would spin off its Energy division as an independent business with Platinum Equity as a majority investment Partner, accelerating long-term growth and decarbonization strategies for both organizations.

“(This month) we took a bold and strategic move for the future of our company,” said David Kohler, Chair and CEO of Kohler Co. “Over the last 150 years, Kohler has embraced a relentless pursuit of providing exceptional products, services, and experiences for our customers … I look forward to supporting the Energy business through our continued investment along with my role on the board following the closing.”

What do you guys think of the push towards hydrogen combustion? It seems to be gaining steam even as fuel cells seem to be losing momentum and BEVs become more and more proven – but is that real, or is it a last-gasp effort from the internal combustion guys? Let us know, in the comments.


Sources | Images: Kohler Energy, via EquipmentWorld.

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