UNSW Engineers Create Hydrogen-Hybrid Diesel Engine to Cut CO2 Emissions

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In a revolutionary achievement, engineers from the University of New South Wales have modified a conventional diesel engine to run (mostly) on hydrogen. This significant development could lead to an impressive reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by up to 85 per cent.

The Breakthrough Discovery

Led by Professor Behdad Moghtaderi, the team of researchers at UNSW’s School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering made this breakthrough discovery after extensive research into clean energy solutions for diesel engines. They designed a novel combustion cycle that combines conventional diesel combustion with hydrogen enriched combustion.

How Does it Work?

The modified engine utilises a combination of diesel and hydrogen fuel to generate power. The engine is designed to allow for more efficient combustion, with lower emissions as compared to a traditional diesel engine. In comparison with conventional engines, the new hydrogen-hybrid model has the capability to reduce NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions by up to 80 per cent, CO2 emissions by up to 85 per cent and vastly improve fuel economy.

The Benefits

This novel discovery could have major implications for the environment, transportation industry and public health. By utilizing this technology in cars or commercial vehicles, not only can we reduce carbon dioxide emissions significantly but also improve air quality across cities in Australia. This solution could potentially help meet current emission standards while maintaining high performance levels and fuel efficiency.

Looking Ahead

The team at UNSW is now exploring ways to make this technology commercially viable in the near future. Prof Moghtaderi believes that with further development and collaboration with industry, we could soon see hydrogen-hybrid diesel engines powering vehicles across Australia. This would be a major milestone for us on our journey towards carbon neutrality and clean energy solutions.

Put To Best Use Now At Mining Sites Where Hydrogen Available

The team say that the most immediate potential use for the new technology is in industrial locations, such as Australia’s mining sites, where permanent hydrogen fuel supply lines are already in place. Studies have shown, for example, that 30 per cent of greenhouse-gas emissions at mining sites are caused by the use of diesel engines, largely in mining vehicles and power generators.

What Does This Mean For Your Organisation?

This new hydrogen hybrid fuel system is an exciting development with many benefits. For example, the fact that it can be easily retrofitted as a bolt-on to existing diesel engines and doesn’t require more expensive high purity hydrogen mean that it can be put to use now on reducing CO2, and can keep costs down.

The costs could be further reduced due to the system making the diesel engine run more efficiently anyway. As the team pointed out, it could be put to good use immediately in reducing the significant amount of CO2 being produced by diesel vehicles in Australia’s mining industry. The big promise, of course, is that once commercialised (in the next 12 to 24 months), it could be used around the world to hopefully make a big reduction in CO2 emissions from all kinds of diesel vehicles, thereby helping the planet, and helping industries and countries to hit their green targets.


Overall, the modified hydrogen-powered diesel engine developed by engineers at UNSW has proven to be an exciting breakthrough in emissions reduction, potentially leading to significant reductions in CO2 emissions while still maintaining high performance levels. The team is continuing to work hard on developing this technology so that it can be used commercially in vehicles across Australia, and we look forward to seeing the results of their hard work.