with traditional internal combustion engine vehicles and the requirement for exhaust after-treatment devices.

Additionally, In order to be operable, hydrogen needs to be converted from a gas to a liquid which means the engine needs to run at very high pressures. During engine operation, blow-by will always occur due to the rapid pressure rise and the low density of hydrogen gas. When exhaust gases enter the crankcase they can condense, when there is no provision of proper ventilation.

With gasoline or diesel, water is produced as a by-product of the combustion process and the same applies for Hydrogen, only more so! Water mixing into the lubricant reduces its lubrication ability and as a result, there is a real risk of a higher degree of engine wear. Specific lubricants need to be developed to cope with this dilution. A lubricant that is compatible with increased water concentration in the crankcase should be used, so that it can withstand the increased moisture levels and still keep the engine fully lubricated.

It remains to be seen whether hydrogen-fuelled and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will become a viable

just hope it’s right


alternative to battery-powered electric vehicles. Lubricants manufacturers will be watching closely, ready to develop the products required.

The UK government has signalled its intent to consider hydrogen as a worthwhile option for some forms of transport at least, by recently announcing £11.2 million of funding to develop and manufacture low-cost hydrogen fuel cell technology for buses and create a hydrogen centre of excellence with Wrightbus in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. The funding was part of a £54 million package for innovative green projects, designed to secure nearly 10,000 UK jobs and save millions of tonnes of carbon emissions.

The good news for lubricants manufacturers is that engines running on hydrogen still need some form of lubrication in the crankcase, to keep them functioning effectively. Pistons and other moving parts need to be lubricated to keep the engine functioning properly. But lubricants for hydrogen fuel cells need to cater to different problems.


VLS investigates engine oils making misleading claims about their specifications and the standards they meet.

By raising a case with VLS you can prove whether products are genuinely fit for purpose or are making false or misleading claims.

Why risk damage to your customers’ vehicles or your own reputation?

Check with VLS.

Report a case by calling 01442 875922 or emailing



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