Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) powered by hydrogen are climate-friendly as well as powerful. The growing demand for these zero-emission drives is currently focused first and foremost on commercial vehicles. In Switzerland for example, the “H2 Mobility Initiative”, in collaboration with a major automobile manufacturer, aims to introduce 1,600 hydrogen-powered trucks to its roads by 2025. By 2040, 30,000 trucks, 40,000 buses and 80,000 taxis in South Korea will have H2 in their fuel tanks.
Compared to the now widespread electric motors with batteries, the much more expensive hydrogen fuel cells facilitate a much greater range, with a similar power rating to a petrol or a diesel engine. Also, H2 vehicles can be refuelled in almost no time at all, when compared to the charging times needed for batteries.
The capacity of a hydrogen tank is governed by its physical size but also by its storage pressure: The higher this figure (commonly 700 bar for cars and 350 bar for trucks and buses), the more fuel can be stored in the tank.
To monitor this pressure, but also for other pressure measurement tasks in an H2 drive system, WIKA has designed the sensor model MH-3-HY. The safety requirements for sensors of this kind are very stringent. They must be certified as hydrogen-compatible and must also have been designed for use in vehicles. The latter primarily affects the mechanical construction in respect of shock and vibration resistance, as well as electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).
To ramp up the sales of hydrogen-fuelled commercial vehicles and cars, the appropriate network of filling stations needs to be expanded. With the model IS-3, for example, the WIKA portfolio also includes a suitable sensor for filling stations, designed with explosion protection.