Liebherr Creates Prototype Large Wheel Loader With Hydrogen

World's first prototype large wheel loader with hydrogen engine presented at the Liebherr plant in Bischofshofen.

Prototype L 566 H is the world's first wheel loader with a hydrogen engine.
Prototype L 566 H is the world's first wheel loader with a hydrogen engine.

Liebherr has created what it refers to as the world's first large wheel loader with a hydrogen engine. The prototype was presented at an event at the company's Austrian factory. The company also presented the first hydrogen filling station in the state of Salzburg. 

Key takeaways include:

  • Following extensive studies, this technology was identified as the optimal solution for operating large vehicles that are difficult to electrify without CO2 emissions.
  • For smaller vehicles up to about 15 tons, battery-electric solutions are often suitable. However, the situation is different with larger machines with an operating weight of up to 40 tons and high energy requirements. Hydrogen reciprocating piston engines prove to be ideal in this case.
  • These hydrogen engines are manufactured at the engine plant of Liebherr's Components product segment in Bulle (Switzerland). They enable not only zero emissions of greenhouse gases and almost no nitrogen oxides, but are also highly efficient. Another advantage is that the interfaces are comparable to those of a diesel engine - thermally and mechanically. This represents a significant step forward in the development of sustainable large-scale machinery.
  • Another highlight of the show was a MAN truck, also with a hydrogen engine. This shows that hydrogen technology is not only feasible in wheel loaders, but is already used in construction site trucks.

"To make progress in hydrogen research, we need to have access to hydrogen. We built this filling station to further advance our goals for decarbonizing construction machinery," said Herbert Pfab, chief technical officer of Liebherr Bischofshofen.