Solenoid Gas Valves for Hydrogen Energy Applications

Louise Smyth

Magnet Schultz announces that it has developed a new range of compact solenoid gas valves. The range comprises four valves featuring units designed for high pressure cut-off, safety shut-off, proportional flow control and purge/drain applications.

All four new valves are compact components and the smallest in their class. The pressure cut-off valve is especially notable for its market-leading input pressure capability of up to 1050 bar. The launch is timely as global research increases and the adoption of hydrogen energy in road vehicles and other applications accelerates.

The key to the exceptional high-pressure valve capability is an innovative internal design that balances the pressure around a primary sealed tube, housing the valve that the hydrogen runs through. The pressurised gas is bled either side of the spool, allowing the spool to move freely under magnetic control from the separate electric coil due to a negligible pressure differential.

“The armature does not need to push against the high gas pressure but can control it by simply moving its own mass within that pressurised internal section,” explains Neil Lawrence, Business Development Engineer at Magnet Schultz Ltd (MSL). “Given the tiny dimensions of the valve, that mass is very light. The body size of the 1050 bar high pressure cut-off valve is just 32mm in diameter.”

The new range includes intrinsically safe explosion-proof variants of the cut-off, safety shut-off and proportional flow control valves, specifically to address static gas-powered fuel cell system applications where ATEX/IECEx certification is mandated. The range is also suitable for compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel installations and other gas applications.

Mobile and portable applications, including vehicles governed by the EC79/2009 type approval of hydrogen-powered motor vehicles regulation, do not require this certification. Here, thanks to their compact sizes, applications in automotive fuel cell developments are a core target sector; Lawrence explains: “These impressive valves are ideal for transportation applications as they require less space for the installation of OTVs (On-Tank Valves). In addition, the 12-Volt operational rating is specifically matched to automotive on-board power systems.”