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Design and construction of 2 hydrogen internal combustion engine demonstrators.

This project was funded by the Government as part of the "Programme d'investissements d'avenir", now part of France 2030, and operated by ADEME

Duration  25 months
Start May 2022
Total amount   9M€
PIA funding  4 867k€
Funding Form ► Grants and refundable advances
Localisation ► Centre Val de Loire




Climate and environmental issues are leading the partners of this project to develop new technical solutions directly in line with European Union FIT 55 policy, of which the objective is to reduce the EU's CO2 emissions of 55% by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. In addition, this transition is an opportunity to transform existing industrial tools to offer a quick solution at a lower cost.



HYCEVAL aims to design 2 hydrogen internal combustion engines vehicles/machines in order to meet the new European zero emission standard (emission below 1g of CO2/kWh). The internal combustion engine solution is a technology that offers unique and key advantages in decarbonization:

  • Robust for many vehicles and environments.
  • Does not use significant amounts of rare, toxic or precious metals.
  • Has an efficient recycling network.
  • Uses existing production infrastructure.
  • The hydrogen production and distribution network is booming nationwide.


The emergence of this solution will allow the partners to position themselves as leaders in the hydrogen combustion field, each in their area of expertise, thus sustaining their activity and the associated jobs.



Knowledge sharing and activities of the 5 partners revolves around the following technological blocks:



Partenaires Hyceval



  • Hydrogen injection system définition : hydraulic components and engine control. Project coordinator (BorgWarner)
  • Tank fixing system definition : sealing and distribution (Caillau)
  • Fluid distribution definition : tubes ans connections (Duncha)
  • Engine block definition and vehicle integration (John Deere).
  • Advanced research in combustion (Université d'Orléans).


Work Plan

The project consists of 4 stages leading to the design of 2 demonstrators with internal hydrogen combustion engines:

  • Combustion optimization and fundamental research on a single-cylinder model at Université d'Orléans.
  • Technical adaptation of the existing diesel engine in order to integrate the hydrogen injection system and optimize combustion on a test bench.
  • Realization of a mobile electricity generator to demonstrate the engine performance on operating conditions at stabilized speed.
  • Realization of a rolling demonstrator for motorway works: engine and hydrogen storage system integration to offer this innovation to the various targeted markets.


Expected Results


HYCEVAL offers a technological design based on a design evolution of an existing diesel engine in order to reduce the manufacturing cost. The challenge consists in optimizing the hydrogen combustion by supercharging coupled with direct injection, by spark ignition, an efficient air-hydrogen mixture, a limitation of combustion temperatures in order to reduce the oxides production at the source.


Economic and Social

HYCEVAL contributes to the reduction of polluting emissions (CO2) and to the energetic independence. It also makes it possible to develop the skills of French laboratories in the injection/combustion field, the training of young researchers and also to federate the high-pressure hydraulic industrial sector in order to secure the competitive position of engine and equipment manufacturers.



Hydrogen internal combustion can meet the European Commission's new zero emission standard, which requires an emission lower than 1g of CO2 per kWh. The annual operating cost, directly linked to the green hydrogen production cost, is similar to the annual operating cost of an internal combustion engine vehicle.


Application et Valorisation

On July 14, 2021, the European Commission adopted a set of proposals in order to adapt the Union's policy, particularly in the field of energy, agriculture and transport, to reduce net gas emissions to greenhouse effect of 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 emissions and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Green hydrogen is one of the solutions adopted to meet these ambitious objectives. Thus, taking into account performance, investment and operating cost, the internal combustion engine running on hydrogen can be a solution to meet future environmental challenges while maintaining an industrial fabric located in France. The targeted markets are those of agricultural vehicles or public works vehicles as well as the generator sector. By extension, these demonstrators will also be a showcase for any other type of machine or vehicle.


Contact : Fabrice FOUCHER ⇒