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28.04.2023 | Research

Project start: Lubricating oils for H2 applications

As a versatile energy carrier, hydrogen will play a key role on the road to climate neutrality in the future, e.g. used directly in hydrogen engines for certain mobility concepts or stationary applications.

Hydrogen places demands on lubrication that current gas engine oils can only meet to a limited extent

Hydrogen has very poor lubricating properties. The typical flame quenching on components surrounding the combustion chamber occurs to a reduced extent when hydrogen is burned, which leads to higher temperatures and a greater load on the lubricating film. Furthermore, hydrogen in activated form can react with the lubricant molecules/additives, which can lead to a considerably changed functionality/performance of the lubricating oil. In extreme cases, this can result in component and engine damage. The water produced during hydrogen combustion further stresses the lubricating oil: High water contents in the lubricating oil can cause corrosion, for example.

BMWK promotes research

The BMWK is funding the research project "Investigation and testing of customized lubricating oils for H2 applications", which will start on May 1, 2023.

In order to avoid performance variations and achieve an optimum lubricating oil selection, the aim of the research project is to simulate the lubricating oil stress in hydrogen operation as realistically and systematically as possible in the laboratory and to document and evaluate the observed lubricating oil changes. A catalog of requirements for H2 lubricating oils will be developed, including selection criteria and oil recommendations, suitable analytical methods and test parameters for laboratory and component tests, and suitable test conditions for long-term engine tests, including the necessary monitoring parameters. Furthermore, conspicuous wear and ignition phenomena as well as lubricating oil stress are documented and evaluated within the scope of oil monitoring of an H2 engine test.

Research Centres

  • University of Rostock Chair of Piston Engines and Internal Combustion Engines
  • University of Rostock Chair of Technical Thermodynamics

Therefore IGF

As a member of the AiF - As a member of the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations, we organize pre-competitive joint industrial research (IGF) projects.

Project 854, which was initiated by the members of the DGMK Lubricants Expert Committee, will run for 2.5 years and will be supported by a cross-sectoral group of experts. Representatives of the energy, lubricant and additive industries, centrifuge technology, suppliers to the automotive industry, development service providers, manufacturers of drive systems and experts from analytics are involved.

The IGF project (22934 BR) of the research association Deutsche Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für nachhaltige Energieträger, Mobilität und Kohlenstoffkreisläufe e.V., Große Elbstraße 131, 22767 Hamburg, Germany, is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection via the AiF within the framework of the program for the promotion of joint industrial research (IGF) on the basis of a resolution of the German Bundestag.