MAHLE reveals new modular filter concept for fuel cells
New standardised air filters reduce development times and costs of fuel cell applications; new approach brings suitability of fuel cell tech for the mass market a significant step closer
MAHLE has developed two standardised air filter solutions for fuel cells. With this new modular approach, MAHLE says it is able to significantly reduce development times and costs,with developers now having direct access to a fully developed ‘off-the-shelf’ component instead of having to design individual solutions for each vehicle.
The new MAHLE air filters for cells with an output of 25–50 kW or 80–120 kW reliably protect fuel cells from harmful gases and particles, ensuring the operation of the fuel cell over the entire service life of a vehicle and minimizing the use of expensive catalysts.
“MAHLE has extensive expertise in air filtration, which we’re now benefiting from in the development and production of reliable filter solutions for fuel cell vehicles,” explains Dr. Martin Berger, head of Corporate Research and Advanced Engineering at MAHLE. “By making the design of the air tract simpler, faster, and cheaper with our new standardized approach, we’re bringing the suitability of this future technology for the mass market a significant step closer.”
Helping minimise manufacturing costs
Fuel cells contain platinum as a catalyst. It is used to convert hydrogen and oxygen into water, with the energy generated in the reaction being released in the form of electrical energy. The fewer harmful gases entering the cell, the less platinum is needed to ensure that it remains operational over the service life of the vehicle. Platinum is rare and expensive, so using efficient filters to increase the degree of purity of the supply air means lower manufacturing costs.
In order to reliably protect fuel cells and thus make them attractive to the consumer from a price perspective, MAHLE says it relies on a highly effective filter medium consisting of several layers: a substrate material ensures mechanical stability, while a particulate filter layer blocks 99.9 percent of unwanted particles. A molecular layer prevents ammonia from entering the fuel cell, an activated carbon layer absorbs unwanted hydrocarbons, and an additional, specially impregnated activated carbon layer stops sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and nitrogen oxides from reaching the cell.
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