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Hydrogen fuel cells

A clean energy provider. Powered only with hydrogen and oxygen and with just water and heat as by-products. Made highly efficient with a hydrogen recirculation blower.


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A power generator of the future

With the world focusing more than ever on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the search is on for alternatives to conventional power generation. Ideally, these are not only cleaner but also more efficient. One sustainable energy generator that meets these requirements is increasingly gaining importance: the fuel cell.

As fuel cells become more efficient and less expensive, they are emerging as a leading technology for producing clean electric power. Fuel cells generate electric current through an electrochemical process, which means they don’t burn fuel like traditional combustion engines. As a result, they don’t produce harmful emissions like greenhouse gasses or air pollutants.

Busch Vacuum Solutions has made a decisive contribution to the efficient use of this sustainable technology by launching the first TÜV-certified hydrogen recirculation blower: the MINK MH 0018 A series. It has been specially developed for the reliable recirculation of hydrogen in fuel cells.

Advantages of hydrogen fuel cells

Hydrogen fuel cells have a number of advantages over other forms of electricity generation technologies.

  • Unlike batteries, they can continuously produce electricity.
  • Moreover, a fuel cell causes close to zero pollution and is much more efficient than a traditional combustion engine.
  • Additionally, a fuel cell can be scaled to a variety of sizes.

There are several types of fuel cells that use different types of fuel sources, including hydrogen, natural gas, and biofuels. This versatility makes them valuable in a variety of applications.

They are used to drive the motor in electric vehicles and provide electricity on large ships. And, in the case of an outage, they supply backup power to data centers and other critical infrastructures, such as hospitals and airports.

How does a fuel cell work in a vehicle?

The vehicle has a tank that is refilled with a fuel source, typically hydrogen. The hydrogen is fed into the fuel cell, where it reacts with oxygen from the air, creating water and heat. The motor is powered with the electricity this reaction generates. Part of the electricity goes to the battery, which provides an extra boost when needed when accelerating, such as at a green light.

However, unlike a vehicle with a combustion engine, hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles only emit water vapor and heat as by-products. They therefore represent an important step in the journey towards greener transportation.

Hydrogen fuel cell technology

In a fuel cell, hydrogen and oxygen combine to produce electricity, with water and heat as by-products.

A hydrogen fuel cell consists of two electrodes: an anode and a cathode. A membrane separates them from each other and allows ion transport from the anode to cathode.

Pressurized hydrogen (H2) is supplied on the anode side, and oxygen (O2) on the cathode side. The hydrogen reacts with a catalyst, usually made of platinum, and loses its electrons. This gives the ions a positive charge, allowing them to pass through the proton exchange membrane (PEM), to then react with the oxygen on the cathode side. Due to their negative charge, the electrons are forced to take a different path. They flow through an external circuit, causing an electrical current and driving the motor and charging the battery, if present. At the cathode, the protons and electrons recombine and react with the oxygen (O) to form water (H2O) and heat.
It is important that oxygen does not diffuse into the hydrogen loop, as this could cause explosive conditions. To prevent this, hydrogen is injected in a higher quantity than needed for the process. Releasing this excess hydrogen into the atmosphere would not only be extremely wasteful and uneconomical, but also result in an inefficient process. Additionally, there are legal restrictions regulating its emission.

The excess hydrogen is therefore fed back to the system by a hydrogen recirculation blower. The recirculation of the hydrogen in such fuel cell systems varies from 20 to 70% of the hydrogen input flow, thus making the recirculation blower a key component for efficient operation in any fuel cell system.

Our solution for recirculating hydrogen in fuel cells

With our MINK MH 0018 A, we offer the first TÜV-certified hydrogen recirculation blower for hydrogen fuel cells.

MINK MH blowers are the ideal solution for a variety of processes in which hydrogen recirculation occurs. From mobile applications in the automotive, rail, maritime and aviation industries to stationary fuel cell modules for power generation.

The blower works according to the proven claw principle that Busch introduced to the market in the 1990s. The dry compression means that no operating fluids are present in the compression chamber. This eliminates the possibility of the hydrogen becoming contaminated with oil. Contamination can damage the fuel cell, reducing its effectivity, and can cause pollution if released into the air.

In addition, none of the moving parts of the blower come in contact with each other. This means that the blower’s components are subject to significantly less wear.

MINK MH TÜV certification