Project Description

Climate-friendly construction machinery will play a crucial role in achieving the required emissions targets on construction sites in the future. Fuel cell drives are particularly important in the large construction machinery sector with high power and energy requirements. In addition to CO2-neutrality, the fuel cell system enables short refueling times, even in remote locations with no or insufficient electrical infrastructure. Additionally, the battery as a component of the fuel cell drive allows for compensating for strong transients in the load profile and thus reduces the aging of the fuel cell.

In a previous project, a functional demonstrator of a small-size wheel loader was developed (see figure). As part of the ETA3 project, a significantly more powerful medium-size wheel loader prototype with a fuel cell drive will be built under the leadership of Liebherr-Werk Bischofshofen GmbH. This represents a fundamental step towards the industrialization and later series production of construction machines with fuel cell technology. Following the development and demonstration phase, the wheel loader prototype will undergo long-term field testing.

To ensure high efficiency, durability, and low costs, both optimal component sizing and an energy management, that optimally distributes the required load between the fuel cell and battery, are decisive. Employing long-term measurement data and predictive information, the energy management aims to maximize efficiency while mitigating component degradation. Moreover, a strategy for balancing fuel cell and battery aging to optimize powertrain lifetime will be derived.

a yellow excavator lifts a shovel of earth

© Liebherr-Werk Bischofshofen GmbH

Figure: Functional demonstrator of a small-size wheel loader with fuel cell drive.

Project Goals

The overall project goal is the development and construction of a medium-size fuel cell electric wheel loader which is intended to advance the entry of the fuel cell drive into construction machinery series production.

The project goals of the TU Wien team are:

  • Sizing of the fuel cell and battery such that it is optimal with respect to cost and performance.
  • Investigation of methods for optimal and predictive energy management for high prediction uncertainties.
  • Optimal component degradation balancing by employing a strategy to adapt the energy management parameters.

Project duration

  • January 2024 - ongoing


Associate Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Christoph Hametner

Send email to Christoph Hametner