Hydrogen Storage / Fuel Cells

Hydrogen is an energy carrier which can be stored, transported and used. Hydrogen-based technology can play an important role in decarbonizing various industrial sectors, as well as in zero emission mobility with long driving ranges and short refueling times. Chemical reaction of hydrogen in a fuel cell produces only water, electricity and heat. Fuel cells can play an important role in a large range of applications - mobility, industrial, residential and portable.

Application requirements

  • Fast and reliable leak testing of bipolar plates and fuel cell stacks
  • Integral and quantitative leak testing of Hydrogen circuit components like anode recirculation blower and Hydrogen injector with high sensitivity

Major components in a fuel cell electric vehicle
Major components in a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV)

Bipolar plates
Vacuum technology for plasma activation of surfaces and sputter coating can drastically improve the performance of metallic bipolar plates with respect to corrosion resistance and reduction of contact resistance. Tightness control can be tailored to the needs of individual requirements with respect to detection limit and speed with tracer gas leak detection, µflow leak testing or a combination of both.

Fuel cell stacks
After assembly of a fuel cell stack, leak detection is vital for further production flow. The integrity of the stack with respect to mechanical damage of individual cells and homogeneous force distribution of clamping devices can be checked with integral Micro-Flow test methods or localizing tracer gas tests.

Material characterization
During storage of Hydrogen gas, release must be reduced to a level which never exceeds a potentially hazardous concentration of hydrogen in air. Tank materials and the seals used in fuel cells must be characterized and leak tested. Did you know that the length of all seals in a 120 kW fuel cell stack can be as long as 1 km?

Hydrogen circuit components
In mobility applications, Hydrogen escape must be reduced to a minimum. Many components in the hydrogen circuit like injection valves or recirculation blowers are leak tested. This applies also for many other components on the air/oxygen circuit and cooling for fuel cell and power electronics.

Product portfolio
Pfeiffer Vacuum offers a complete range of leak detectors, from tracer gas to air based Micro-Flow technologies as well as equipment for surface modification and coating processes under vacuum.

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