Solenoid Valves in Forklift Fuel Cells Provide High Flow of Hydrogen

Fuel Cells are a green alternative to traditional fossil fuels like gasoline or diesel.  Fuel cells are beginning to be more widely used in transportation vehicles like public buses, forklifts, refuse trucks, backup generators, and more.  Hydrogen fuel cells are clean burning, give off no emissions, and only have water as it’s byproduct.  One of the energy sources needed to run a fuel cell is hydrogen (the other is oxygen).  In order for the fuel cell to run correctly, the flow of the hydrogen gas needs to be controlled effectively with a solenoid valve.  Hydrogen fuel cells are becoming more widely used in forklifts because they can be refueled quickly, optimizing their runtime.  Battery powered forklifts require charging for several hours which is not practical when running production shifts 24 hours a day.     

Challenge:  Finding a compact solenoid valve that can provide adequate flow and still withstand the harshness of hydrogen over extended periods of time. 

Hydrogen is a corrosive gas that can attack and break down certain metals and make them brittle.  This brittleness can cause the internal components of a valve (plunger, spring, guide tube, stop piece) to fail if they are not constructed of premium material.  Also, leaking hydrogen into the atmosphere is extremely dangerous as it is very flammable.  In addition, if hydrogen accumulates in a confined area, it is an asphyxiant as it will displace oxygen.   

Solution:  Gems DG Series Solenoid Valve 

Utilizing all Stainless-Steel construction (316SS body and guide tube, and 430FR SS for plunger and stop piece), the Gems DG Series Solenoid Valve is compatible with Hydrogen Fuel Cell systems. This will lead to a long-lasting solution for trouble-free operation.  With Max Operating Pressure Differential up to 900 PSI and orifice sizes as large as 3/8” the DG Series Solenoid valve provides high flow of hydrogen to power the fuel cell.     

Additional Features of the Gems DG Series Solenoid Valve:

  • Viton® O-Ring seal and Viton® plunger seal are compatible with Hydrogen gas
  • Available in 2 or 3-Way configurations, Normally Closed or Normally Open  
  • Encapsulated coils provide moisture intrusion protection  
  • Has bubble tight sealing capability and is designed to last for millions of cycles in general purpose liquid, gas, and vacuum applications  
  • Available in various orifice sizes, body materials, wattages, and coil constructions  


Additional Sensor Options for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems: 

  • XLS-1: Ultrasonic level switch for fluid reservoirs  
  • 3500 Pressure Sensor:  Monitors hydrogen pressure  
  • CAP-3 (or CAP-300):  coolant level 
  • ELS-950/1100/1150:   level of DI water tank 
  • PS61:  Monitoring pressure of the water part of system