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Hydrogen combustion engine HGV 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  24 months
Start ► December 2020
Totam amount  6M€
PIA funding 1,5M€
Funding form ► Grants and refundable advances
Localisation ► Rhône




The industrial vehicles decarbonization is a major challenge for the sector and Renault Trucks is already fully committed on electric solutions. Hydrogen combustion is an alternative that may become interesting in this changing context and depending on customer usage. The hydrogen internal combustion engine has already been explored in the 2000s (for example BMW, MAN or GM) but scientific publications have shown limits and key points to be resolved to make this solution applicable for customers, in particular the performance-emissions compromise and combustion control.

Despite these constraints, this technology holds the promise of low production costs, great ease of implementation in current vehicles and could quickly be put on the market.

Renault Trucks has decided to take an interest in it again.




Renault Trucks is going to develop a hydrogen internal combustion engine based on the MDE8 engine and implement it in two D-Wide type demonstrator vehicles.

For performance, it is expected to achieve a torque curve at the level of the diesel equivalent. Emissions are expected to be close to zero, whether in CO2, NOx and particulates. On-board hydrogen storage will be sized to guarantee sufficient autonomy for customers.

The conception of these demonstrators will make it possible to apprehend, in a concrete way, the benefits of the propulsion by hydrogen internal combustion engine


Démonstrateurs Renault




Partenaires projet PL-H2


Work Plan

After analysis of the inherent problems in hydrogen combustion, the concepts decided on will be the subject of in-depth studies before being integrated into the demonstrators.


Expected results


This project will:

  • develop engine parameters to control hydrogen combustion;
  • help to understand and demonstrate the main aspects of hydrogen combustion industrial vehicles.


Economic & social

Thanks to the work of the various partners, this project will make it possible to develop French expertise in the hydrogen combustion field. It will also add value to the production process as well as all of Renault Trucks' suppliers.



The hydrogen combustion engine is a credible solution to reduce engines generated emissions and in particular CO2 emissions. It suggests a small increase in cost compared to current diesel vehicles, with a limited implementation time. Thus, it is a technology that has its place in the portfolio of technologies to accelerate the decarbonization of industrial vehicles.


Application et valorisation

Hydrogen internal combustion engines will be applicable as a complement to other low-carbon transport solutions. It is still difficult to predict the market share that each technology will take. Nevertheless, Renault Trucks expects good performance from this solution.


Contact : Fabrice FOUCHER ⇒