MANN+HUMMEL extends research project for the reduction of fine dust pollution

MANN+HUMMEL, the filtration specialist from Ludwigsburg, is conducting a research project titled "Fine dust eater" to examine the reduction of fine dust pollution in conurbations. In August, a field test started with a test vehicle in the region of Stuttgart. Today, the company has decided to extend the field test. In future, two further vehicles will be available for testing purposes. Both are able to filter particulates from the ambient air, also when at a standstill. Using a filter column MANN+HUMMEL is also testing a stationary solution. The column is installed at locations where there is an extremely high level of fine dust pollution in order to improve the quality of the air.

foto: benjamin stollenberg

After tests carried out with the first vehicle, MANN+HUMMEL will now also equip the two further vehicles with three applications which are designed to contribute towards the reduction of fine dust pollution in the air. A particulate filter installed on the roof of each car separates particulates from the ambient air. The occupants of the vehicle are protected by an innovative cabin filter. In addition, a newly developed brake dust particle filter fitted to the brake system reduces the release of particulates to the ambient air.

In comparison to the first vehicle, the fine dust particle filter on the roof of the two new cars is equipped with an active filter system. Blowers are fitted behind these filters which direct ambient air to the filters. As a result, even when the vehicle is at a standstill it is still able to filter particulates from the ambient air. Apart from that, the new particulate filters are equipped with sensors which allow the online monitoring of the efficiency of the systems. Here MANN+HUMMEL records information on the filtration performance, the amount of cleaned air, the concentration of particulates and the weather data. The data are then sent to a cloud, visualized via a web interface and then evaluated by filtration experts.
The extension of the test drives at the present time also offers advantages for the testing of the brake dust particle filter. The filter has already proven its separation performance in the laboratory and on the test bench. Now MANN+HUMMEL will test the filter under the conditions found in winter. This will involve testing in operating conditions with sludge, snow, ice and dirt.

The eye-catching design of the “Fine dust eater” vehicles make them hard not to see during their test drives in and around Stuttgart.

Filter columns

In parallel to the test drives with the “Fine dust eater” vehicles, MANN+HUMMEL is also starting a test with a stationary column solution. For this purpose the company has installed a filter column in front of the company’s Technology Center in the Schwieberdinger Strasse in Ludwigsburg. The column is also fitted with blowers and particulate filters and serves to actively filter out particulates from the ambient air.

Filter columns are primarily suitable for use in areas with a high traffic volume. For example, they can make a contribution towards the reduction of fine dust pollution at busy junctions. The column contains an energy-efficient, high performance blower, a multi-stage filter element and a control unit. This enables adjustment of the operation of the particulate filter according to the conditions.

Further application areas could be bus stops where people are exposed to high levels of fine dust pollution. The columns can help protect travelers. For this purpose MANN+HUMMEL has developed filtration concepts which can be directly integrated in bus stops or set up in the form of billboards and information walls.

Josef Parzhuber, President & General Manager for Automotive Aftermarket at MANN+HUMMEL emphasizes the importance of the project: “Transport users are particularly apprehensive about fine dust pollution in the winter months. We are currently extending the research project which is examining ways to improve air quality. Now our test drives with three Fine Dust Eater vehicles and the use of sensors will become more effective and reliable. With the installation of filter columns we have also taken the step to move from mobile to stationary particulate filtration. The keen feedback of our industrial partners and customers confirms that our commitment is a good investment.”

In the case of the mobile and stationary particulate filters MANN+HUMMEL is working together with TEAM KAMM GmbH, based in the Baden-Württemberg town of Aichwald and with Better Air GmbH, based in the Austrian town of Spittal an der Drau.

Further information

The fine dust particle filter installed on the roofs of the cars separates particulate matter from the ambient air. Through its low flow resistance, the fitted filter element enables an excellent air throughput and a simultaneously high separation efficiency. MANN+HUMMEL will check the encouraging results from the simulation in the extended field test.

The robust housing of the newly developed brake dust particle filter fits closely to the brake caliper enabling the filter to capture brake dust particles at the source before they escape into the environment. This is particularly important as the amount of fine dust caused by braking in city traffic is probably more than that caused by exhaust emissions. While today’s modern brake pads are chemically much more environmentally friendly than in the past, more than 90% of brake dust also consists of fine particles which can still have a negative effect on human health. The new brake dust particle filter can be applied on all types of vehicle disc braking systems for automotive or non-automotive applications, whether for electric vehicles, hybrids or conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles.

MANN+HUMMEL has already developed solutions to protect vehicle occupants. The test vehicle is also fitted with a newly developed cabin filter. The activated carbon mix used in the filter enables a very high separation efficiency for toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx) and other harmful gases. The innovative coating of the filter reliably binds high volumes of ammonia while ultra-fine nanofibers in the inside of the filter provide excellent protection against particulates and pollen.

According to estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), every year roughly 47,000 people in Germany die from the effects of particulates. In the meantime the city of Stuttgart is known in the region for its fine dust alarm. While in 2016 the fine dust alarm was proclaimed for 59 days, in 2017 the fine dust alarm in the state capital had already been proclaimed in the months from January to April on 48 days.