UFI Filters is ready for hydrogen mobility. When it comes to HGVs, large-tonnage transport, and long distances, the use of hydrogen to power fuel cells is one of the best solutions to drastically reduce air pollution. Hydrogen has also proved to be a valid solution for the decarbonization of transport; indeed, a great deal of attention is devoted to this source of power in the 2020 European energy plan. UFI Filters, a leading company in filtration and production of heat exchangers for combustion, hybrid and electric vehicles, has been developing devices related to the use of hydrogen in fuel cells and related filtration issues since 2017, not only for applications on heavy goods vehicles but also for the future of car and light commercial vehicle mobility.
Cathode Air Filter
The Cathode Air Filter is essential to ensure the best operation of the fuel cell. Air quality is not the same everywhere; its’ characteristics depend on numerous factors such as temperature, altitude, local pollution, etc. Particulate and gaseous pollutants are compounds generated by human activities that are harmful to the fuel cell catalyst, the heart of the electrochemical reaction where air acts as an oxidizer in the reaction between oxygen and hydrogen to produce electricity.
The UFI Filters cathode air filter for heavy-duty applications has two layers:
- The first layer mechanically blocks the particles. It’s a non-woven filter media characterized by different matrixes and thicknesses than other conventional filter media.
- The second layer has a physical adsorption function for gaseous pollutants via the customized blending of specific activated charcoal types considering the performance needs of the vehicle design and service areas globally.
Designed based on UFI’s experience in filter media manufacturing, the dual system will go into production for heavy goods vehicles as early as 2025.
The Deioniser (or ion exchange filter) is an important component of the fuel cell, as its function is to deionize the coolant used in the cooling circuit. During the electrochemical process between anode and cathode, a high voltage is generated that cannot be transmitted to the cooling circuit, meaning that the electrical conductivity of the coolant must be minimized. The deioniser is used in the cooling system of the fuel cell engine, specifically to remove the electrical charge, i.e. the ions, and to maintain a low conductivity of the liquid. Thanks to the ion exchange resin and the advanced design by UFI Filters, the Deioniser, keeps the conductivity at the desired level while ensuring low-pressure drop for high system performance.
A Demister is a component designed for fuel cell systems that ensure optimal management of the water produced during the electrochemical process of converting hydrogen and oxygen into electricity. The accumulation of excess water hinders the proper transport of reagents in bipolar plates and diffusion media, causing performance reduction. The UFI Filters Demister separates water from hydrogen by applying the principles of liquid-gas separation through centrifugal action or via a labyrinth baffle and can be installed in different system positions. The UFI Demister offers numerous advantages: it can effectively regulate the water content in the system, improve the hydrogen utilization rate and power generation efficiency, and help expand the life of the fuel cell.
Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA)
The heart of the fuel cell, the MEA is the component where electrochemical reactions for hydrogen conversion take place.
It is a thin polymeric layer coated with catalyst ink constructing the anode on one side, where protons and electrons are splitted from hydrogen and the cathode on the other side, where protons recombine with oxygen to complete the set of reactions. Consequently, the production of clean electricity takes place, with the only form of emission being plain water. With its 30 years of experience in manufacturing filter media, UFI Filters is studying and designing the best formulations to improve the production of these components.