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In an effort to save our planet from heat exhaustion, more than a few experts are increasingly turning to fuel cells, as they enable emission-free propulsion for means of transport on land, water and in the air. The key factors in fuel cell systems are volume and weight, especially in the peripheral components. Experts also refer to Balance of Plant (BoP) components, which, with the exception of the actual stack, include pumps, sensors, heat exchangers, seals, compressors, recirculation fans, intercoolers or humidifiers. However, it is particularly true for the air management subsystem. Celeroton AG from Volketswil in Switzerland, one of the world's leading suppliers of gas-immersed turbo compressors, has set itself the task of reducing the volume and weight of compressors with the aid of higher speeds. As a result, Celeroton's electrically driven turbo compressors achieve the performance of conventional scroll or positive displacement compressors with volume and weight reduced by factors thanks to the highest speeds, usually with higher efficiency.

Faster, smaller, lighter

In this context, the Swiss company has now introduced the new CT-2000 / CC-2000 turbo compressor system. Developed as an air supply for fuel cells with a net output of 30 to 60 kilowatts, the new Turbo compressor system is said to offer an outstanding power-to-weight ratio with values for air mass flow and pressure ratio that are once again higher than those of its predecessor type. The maximum speed has also been increased once again, enabling a further reduction in installation space while at the same time increasing efficiency.

Not only fast, but also suitable for series production

But Celeroton did not stop at pushing the limits of what is currently physically possible. In the course of development, the design was also revised and uncompromisingly geared to effective series production. The company sees the special advantage of the new system in the adherence to elements that have proven themselves over many years, such as the air bearing, combined with the possibilities of the latest production technologies and materials, while at the same time technically simplifying production. This results in symbiotic effects through savings in materials on the one hand and leaner machining, assembly and commissioning processes on the other. On the plus side, the end result should be a particularly attractive price/performance ratio.

The result speaks for itself

And, as was to be expected, the result justifies the effort: a considerable 40 percent saving in weight and volume compared with the predecessor type, plus a ten percent increase in output at around thirteen percent higher maximum speed. This makes the new system particularly suitable for automotive requirements and, according to the manufacturer, represents a milestone in the spread of fuel cell technology for light commercial vehicles, forklifts and other areas of application.