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Hydrogen fuel cells represent an emerging option for power generation as the engine market looks to reduce its reliance on carbon-based energy.
Although fuels cells have been on the scene for some time, the confluence of regulatory changes, technological advancements and the quest to reduce emissions have spurred greater development of fuel cells as a viable, clean energy option. While there are no “standard” applications at the present time, Donaldson engineers and advanced material experts have collaborated with OEMs and Tier 1/Tier 2 suppliers for over 20 years to develop customized fuel cell applications.
Our expertise in air intake filtration, proton exchange membranes and venting solutions provides the flexibility, innovation and critical support required to solve complex filtration challenges. This is what Donaldson has been doing for 100+ years. We’re happy to put our experience and expertise to work for you
The Challenge: Fuel cells have very specialized needs for clean air. Both particulate and chemical contaminants can significantly degrade fuel cell performance and lifespan, making it critically important that contaminants are removed from the air they use.
In addition to filtering dust and other particulate contaminants from the airflow (similar to the requirements for internal combustion engines), the use of a carbon layer for chemical contamination capture allows the fuel cell to operate effectively.
Donaldson offers tailored solutions that incorporate high-efficiency media and carbon layers to effectively address the sources of fuel cell contamination.
Donaldson draws on a range of proprietary filtration media, including our proven Ultra-Web® technology, to engineer the best solution for your application, delivering clean air and long filter life to support your return on investment.
Donaldson tailored media options include effective filtration for:
For ion removal or filtration of additional chemical contaminants, including Ammonia (NH3), Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO₂), please contact us.
The Donaldson Advantage
As a global leader in innovative engine filtration solutions, Donaldson has more than 105 years of filtration expertise and more than 20 years’ experience developing and producing air cleaners and filters that specifically offer this dual level of protection for fuel cells.
We can incorporate these systems into our proven single-stage or multi-stage air cleaners, or they can be integrated into proprietary OEM- or Tier 1/Tier 2-supplier designed systems, customized to meet your precise specifications.
The Challenge: In order to reduce the overall cost of fuel cells, OEMs are requiring smaller fuel cell stack sizes; the smaller the stack, the lower the cost of the cell and its related batteries and cooling systems.
Proton Exchange Membranes within fuel cells allow only positive ions to pass from anodes to cathodes, generating electrical power in the process. While durability depends in part on the thickness of these membranes, smaller, thinner membranes are required to reduce fuel cell weight and cost.
Expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) membranes are used as a structural reinforcement within the Proton Exchange Membrane and need to balance mechanical durability with current density. As a result the power and efficiency of the fuel cell are optimized. Generally, thinner membranes result in higher current densities (e.g., more power), but can sacrifice mechanical durability.
The Donaldson Advantage
Donaldson’s extensive portfolio of membranes has evolved over decades of research and development, continuing to meet strict industry performance requirements, while supporting OEM appeals for reduced stack size.
The Challenge: Fuel cell enclosures need to vent. This provides continuous pressure equalization and adequate ventilation while preventing ingress of water and contaminants.
Fuel Cell Vents
While fuel cell enclosures need to be sealed, the cell stacks also need to vent in order to equalize internal and ambient pressure. Donaldson expertise in ePTFE membrane and enclosure venting technologies provides solutions for helping equalize pressure within the stack while helping keep water and other environmental contaminants out.
Donaldson’s proprietary Tetratex® ePTFE membrane combines durability and breathability in a single package. This ePTFE membrane can also be integrated directly into the housing to create vent assemblies that meet specific application requirements.
Dual-Stage Battery Vents
With the growth of electric, hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles, lithium-ion batteries play an increasingly critical role in the automotive and heavy-duty equipment worlds. With fuel cell powered equipment, lithium-ion batteries are used to capture and store the electrical energy generated and deliver that power to drive systems.
Donaldson’s Dual-Stage Burst Battery Vent has proven effective in meeting the critical needs of automotive / heavy-duty battery packs. The first stage equalizes pressure while preventing the ingress of water and contaminants. Stage-two venting fully opens in the case of rapid pressure and heat buildup to allow expanding gases to escape, preventing deformation to the battery pack enclosure.
We offer a series of standard vents for a wide range of applications.
The Donaldson Advantage
Donaldson has decades of experience developing effective, efficient filtration and venting media for a variety of OEMs and Tier 1/Tier 2 suppliers.
Our proven solutions for cathode intake air filtration, ePTFE membranes, and battery and fuel cell venting are backed by world-class proprietary technology and years of engineering expertise.
Fuel cell technology is developing rapidly and these are really exciting times. We’d love to have the opportunity to share more about how we’ve applied our expertise and filtration technologies to help solve new challenges that you encounter. If you’d like to speak to one of our filtration engineering experts, please click the Contact Us button on this page and submit a request for more information or support.
Donaldson offers experience and capabilities for suppliers and manufacturers of Hydrogen Fuel Cells — including air intake filtration, membrane technology, and fuel cell and battery vents.