Our Air Experts are ready to help

Our team has a wide range of vacuum and low pressure product development expertise across a number of applications within the alternative fuel sector and specifically within fuel cell applications. We have the capabilities to create bespoke fuel cell blower solutions. Our product development team will work with you in a collaborative approach to:

  • Understand your application needs via a thorough research phase

  • Select the best technology for your requirements

  • Develop and Test prototypes to provide the optimum solution

  • Deliver innovative solutions with our continuous improvement process to help take your project to new levels

We have invested in one of the first and only dedicated Fuel Cell Centre of Excellence for pressure rotating equipment. Our engineers work specifically on blower and compressor innovations designed for the needs of the fuel cell industry and its end user applications. They specialize and have experience in developing working prototype blowers, and scaling them to full serial production models.
Elmo Rietschle Vacuum and Low Pressure Design and Engineering support

How are blowers and low pressure compressors equipment used in the fuel cell process?

One of the main aspects of a fuel cell is to achieve maximum overall system efficiency and cost effectiveness. Blowers and low pressure compressors are important components of a fuel cell,  since they move air and gases through the system and their efficiency will have an impact on the overall system performance.

In order to generate heat and electricity, a Fuel Cell needs two types of inlets, one for air and one for the gas (such as hydrogen). This requires two types of blowers, one for air and one for the gas.
Our industry leading range of blowers have everything you will need to optimise your fuel cell manufacturing processes including air blowers for drying of electronic components, to fuel blowers for fuel supply.

What to look for in a fuel cell blower?

In many fuel cell applications the blower is critical component that will need to be:

  • Energy Efficient low voltage solution that consume minimal charge
  • Lightweight so not to add too much additional weight to the overall package
  • Accurate Air Supply - the air volume needs to be sufficient and accurate to provide optimum airflow as required by the fuel cell
  • Highly Reliable with long-life internal and almost maintenance free design

What is a fuel cell?

Fuel cells convert the chemical energy stored in the fuel to electric and thermal energy (heat), without the need for combustion, this is why they are a viable solution to reduce emissions and meet green energy targets. Fuel Cells provide zero emission solutions for all energy needs.

Fuel cells can be classified by the kind of electrolyte they use, therefore although the basic operations of all fuel cells are the same, there are several types of fuel cells: Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells—also called proton exchange membrane fuel cells, Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, Direct Methanol fuel cells, Alkaline fuel cells, Phosphoric Acid fuel cells, Molten Carbonate fuel cells and Reversible fuel cells. 


How does a fuel cell stack work?

Fuel cells work just like batteries, the only difference is they do not run down and they produce electricity and heat as long as fuel is supplied. A fuel cell consists of two electrodes—a negative electrode called anode and a positive electrode called cathode . The electrolyte sits between the anode and the cathode. 

A fuel, such as hydrogen, is fed to the anode while air is fed to the cathode. Hydrogen needs to move from the anode side to the cathode side of the cell to meet with the oxygen and generate electricity. The electrolyte will only let positively charged elements to move across. Hydrogen is a neutral element with one proton and one electron therefore proton and electrons need to be separated for the hydrogen to go across the electrolyte.

The catalyst in the cell will separate the electrons from the protons. Protons will move to the cathode side going through the electrolyte meeting the oxygen elements on the other side generating water (which is the only waste generated in this process). The electrons will also be transferred on the cathode side using an external circuit and generating electricity.diagram of hydrogen fuel cell showing how a fuel cell stack works

Where are Fuel Cells used?

Fuel Cell technologies have a wide variety of applications and are considered an alternative, sustainable and green solution to oil dependency. For example hydrogen fuel cells store hydrogen and oxygen, a chemical reaction between the two elements generates energy and the only byproduct is water. Fuel cells generate no pollution as the only waste they produce is water.

Fuel cells can be used in transport applications to feed buses for city and regional transport but can also be used in hydrogen fuelled marine transportation. Other applications also include forklift trucks, wheel chairs, bikes, small vehicles and light traction. Last, but not least, Fuel Cells are used in stationary applications to generate residential and industrial energy supply.

Hydrogen fuel cell bus

Our Fuel Cell Blower Technologies

We have a wide range of standard products that can be applied to most fuel cell applications. We can also adapt standard product to create a bespoke solution to meet the needs of any fuel cell installation.

Side Channel Blowers for Fuel Cell Applications

Range technical characteristics

In many fuel cell applications the blower is critical component that will need to be:

  • Pressure up to 1,100 mbar (g)
  • Capacity up to 2,500 m³/h


In many fuel cell applications the blower is critical component that will need to be:

  • Highly reliable even under harsh conditions
  • Almost non-existent service requirements
G-BH1 compressors

Air Map G-Series Side Channel

Claw Vacuum Pumps and Compressors for Fuel Cell Applications

Advantages of Claw Technology

Contact-free vacuum or compressed air efficiently and economically. This is possible because of the principle of internal compression in the rotary claw design. The gas is pre-compressed within the compressing chamber and is then discharged.

  • Highly efficient, dry and contact-free.
  • Steady performance curve over the entire operating range.
  • Integrated air cooling without additional cooling medium.
  • Low noise level.
  • Available with variable speed drive.
  • ATEX-compliant versions available upon request.
  • Low maintenance.
  • Wide range of applications.
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Claw Vacuum Pumps for Fuel Cell Applications

Airmap C-Series

Ingersoll Rand Hydrogen Solutions Family

Ingersoll Rand businesses have expertise spanning the whole hydrogen value chain. This not only includes the blowers, compressors and vacuum pumps above. It also includes industrial gas specialists Reavell, hydrogen compressing in PVC Production from WITTIG, liquid ring compressors for hydrogen recover from Nash and hydrogen refuelling stations from Haskel.

Ingersoll Rand is commitment to developing hydrogen technologies that support more sustainable, flexible, and affordable hydrogen solutions.

Witting Rotary Vane Compressor