Engine – Ready for the energy of tomorrow with today's expertise

Team Girard

With growth of 21.6 percent, the Engine Business Unit was able to continue the positive trend of previous years and can look back on a strong financial year. This is due to the surprising revival of the oil and gas industry and significant progress in innovation, particularly in the field of hydrogen.

Last year, oil and gas production experienced an unexpected renaissance, particularly on the North American market. This upturn was largely driven by increased demand from Europe, which was seeking alternatives to energy supplies from Russia as a result of the war in Ukraine. At the same time, China also contributed to growth, as the country ended its previously strict zero-Covid policy in December 2022. For the Engine Business Unit, which generates around 90 percent of its sales through components for gas engines, the higher demand led to a considerable increase in sales of 21.6 percent.

Bernhard Zemann

"With our market-leading products, we are ready today for the hydrogen transformation of tomorrow."

Bernhard Zemann
Head of Engine Business Unit


Hydrogen-ready for the future
Despite the comeback of fossil fuels, Engine retains a strategically advantageous position when it comes to hydrogen technology. On the one hand, the existing infrastructure of gas pipelines can one day also be used for operation with hydrogen, which is already being added to some gas plants today. Due to the similar combustion properties of natural gas (methane) and hydrogen, components such as combustion chambers, valves and pistons that are designed for natural gas engines can also be operated efficiently with hydrogen with a few technical adjustments. 

Altronic, a HOERBIGER company in the US state of Ohio, is the market leader in the field of spark plugs, coils, sensors and ignition and control systems for gas engines and already has technological expertise in the development and manufacture of components for hydrogen engines. Last year, the Engine Business Unit also succeeded in introducing a number of significant innovations and new products.

On the advance with new products
After a time-to-market of just eight months, the new Smart Altronic Vibration Sensor (SAVeS) was successfully launched on the market. This is an electronic enhancement of a previously purely mechanical vibration measuring device, which was taken from the existing product portfolio. With this product innovation, Engine was able to acquire an important distributor from Canada as a new customer. The first orders were received in October 2023 and have been in delivery since the beginning of 2024.

HOERBIGER has taken another step towards series production with its Hydrogen Port Fuel Injector (H2PFI). The intake manifold, which meters hydrogen injection into the combustion chamber, was nominated for the next development phase by a well-known commercial vehicle manufacturer. Preparations are currently underway at the production site in Poland for series production, which is scheduled for the end of 2024.

The Business Unit made a veritable leap forward in innovation with the new Altronic Hydrogen Ignition System (AH2IS). The modified, high-precision hydrogen ignition was successfully confirmed on the full engine – with a performance efficiency that is on a par with diesel engines. Another innovation worth mentioning is the new ePCCDI SOP pre-chamber valve. The electronically controlled direct injection ensures a significant increase in the efficiency of gas engines thanks to the reduced energy requirement when igniting an upstream combustion chamber.

Coordination of hydrogen activities
2023 was exciting not only for Engine in technological terms, but also organizationally. The Business Unit is taking over the management of the new HOERBIGER H₂- Incubator, where all future hydrogen activities will be bundled Group-wide during the incubation phase before being returned to the Divisions and Business Units for industrialization. The Hydrogen Opportunity Team (HOT) was established for this purpose, with Engine assuming the role of coordinator.