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 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.
UFI Filters designs and produces cathode air filters of different types, according to the requirements of original equipment manufacturers (OEM) in the automotive sector, and also for other mobile and stationary applications, and for those clients that use fuel cell powered engines in their businesses.
- SPARE PARTS
UFI Filters cylindrical cathode air filter is available in different sizes, depending on the OEM’s requests, and based on the configuration of each fuel cell system. It maintains a dual function: solid particle filtration and gaseous contaminant absorption; also, it is characterized by a dual layer in the filtering cartridge, enclosed within a plastic body.
Thanks to this configuration, you can customize the filter layers composition based on a specific vehicle, on the region it will be used in, and/or the running distance and useful life of the filter.
The fuel cell catalytic converter is made of materials such as platinum. In this core, the electrochemical reaction necessary to transform oxygen and hydrogen into energy occurs. Therefore, it is essential that the air sucked by the catalytic converter is suitably filtered, to avoid compromising the cell performance and progressive wear. Toxic gases, such as SOX, NOX, H2S, CO, O3 and NH3, and VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), such as benzene and toluene, whose concentration varies based on the geographical context, can drastically reduce the fuel cell performance, even at very low quantities. Therefore, it is important to rely on an original filter manufacturer, such as UFI Filters, which offers diversified cathode air filters based on each engine’s requirements.
UFI Filters cathode air filter is available also in the panel version. In this case too, the filtering material comprises a dual filtration system:
- The first layer acts as physical barrier: it separates solid particles and traps all kinds of dust, including very fine dust, and salt particles.
- The second layer has a chemical absorption function for gaseous pollutants, and it comprises non-woven fabric materials, with different kinds of activated charcoal in them.
The cathode air filters’ filtering material in the FormulaUFI.Stratiflex is produced internally by UFI Filters in dedicated plants, for the highest level of customization on the different fuel cell systems.
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.
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.