As manufacturers move forward in the quest for maximum efficiency in mobility, many technologies are being developed. Among them, the hydrogen fuel cell is proving to be a big bet for many OEMs
Unlike other electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles produce electricity to power the vehicle from a hydrogen-powered fuel cell, rather than drawing electricity from a battery. These vehicles use hydrogen gas and oxygen to create electricity in a fuel cell that powers an electric motor.
As vehicle manufacturers work to maximise efficiency and reduce emissions, hydrogen fuel cell is becoming a very interesting solution. It provides emission-free vehicle operation, increased power and the torque needed for some heavy-duty applications such as trucks and commercial vehicles.
It is a very promising technology in a rapidly evolving market. Governments and major vehicle manufacturers are investing in the development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Resistance to leaks and imperfections in any fluid system is critical. Within hydrogen vehicles, certain specifications must be considered when selecting hydrogen drive system components. Hydrogen storage is under high pressure, as the higher is the pressure, the more range the vehicle will have.
Generally, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles store the gas between 350 bar and 700 bar, depending on requirements. In fleets of vehicles requiring less range between refuelling, 350 bar are used. In long-range or heavy-duty vehicle applications, 700 bar are required. The latter is the pressure at which all manufacturers are currently aiming. The higher the pressure demanded of the hydrogen fuel cell system, the higher performance required for the entire fluid management system and its components.
Hydrogen pipes are usually made of steel or a combination of steel and plastic. This is due to the high pressures at which the hydrogen transmission system works.
At ILPEA we are working on the development of new types of mobility that are both efficient and environmentally friendly, such as hydrogen vehicles. We have therefore not only developed metallic products combined with plastics suitable for fluid conduction in hydrogen vehicles, but also are currently developing other elements present in this new powertrain system. ILPEA produces aswell low pressure (7 bars) hydrogen lines, fuel cell thermal management systems and all the cooling system designed for the electric motor and its subsequent water vapour emanation.
Our engineering departments are working on the efficiency and development of this technology. To achieve so, many factors must be considered when developing all the different elements to avoid leaks or damage in the vehicle’s performance. Some of these factors are the choice of materials to avoid corrosion in the system, as hydrogen embrittlement of the metal. Vibration resistance is also a critical point; fittings, connection systems and brackets in hydrogen fuel cell vehicle applications must be able to withstand the vibrations resulting from vehicle operation in all types of environments.