You will find a multitude of hydrogen compressor and pump technologies in use today. Varieties of compressors include diaphragm, reciprocating piston, and centrifugal. Pumping systems for hydrogen applications include various kinds of positive displacement techniques. Every membrane compressor and pump system functions utilizing various ways, and each is used for particular reasons and for specific marketplaces.

Introducing visitors to this subject, we asked a number of hydrogen compressor and pump producers to describe the techniques used in hydrogen applications today.

Basic principles

Hydrogen will be the simplest and most abundant aspect in the world. (See CGI, Feb. 2008, p. 52.) It is really an efficient, non-polluting, green energy. Emerging hydrogen technologies require storage space and the use of hydrogen at higher pressures.

Compressors are used to boost the pressure of gaseous hydrogen (H2). In general, nevertheless, fluids are certainly not deemed compressible. Pumping systems consequently are utilized to boost the pressure of liquid hydrogen (LH2) at the use point by offering a constant stream. Restrictions and last use back stress result in the pressure increase. LH2 at high pressure is then transformed into vapor since it goes by via a vaporizer, and it is utilized or stored at the elevated pressure. Gaseous compressors and liquid pumping systems are both used in hydrogen applications.

Even though the fundamental principles of compressing and pumping are common to many fumes and liquids, there are unique distinctions and specifications, such as safety, when confronted with hydrogen. One of the most popular difficulties to using hyrogen is its safe containment, due to the reduced molecular mass.


The three fundamental kinds of compressors – diaphragm, reciprocating piston, and centrifugal (also known as radial) – have various qualities which make them appropriate for use within various settings.

Diaphragm Compressors

“Diaphragm compressors,” recommends Osama Al-Qasem with Pdc Machines Inc., “are a great choice for compressing fumes without incurring toxic contamination in the procedure mass media or leakage of gasoline to ambient air.” H2 is remote from the mechanical elements of the compressor and from the environment by way of a set of 3 metallic diaphragms. These are clamped between two exactly contoured concave cavities in top and lower plates. The three diaphragms are nested and take action together as one. The top diaphragm is in touch with the H2 as well as the bottom is in contact with the hydraulic oil. A 3-diaphragm set is utilized to make certain there is no cross-toxic contamination involving the hydraulic oil and also the H2 becoming compressed. The center diaphragm, employed for leak recognition, has lines scribed on edges. When a leak grows in the upper or lower diaphragm, or maybe the O-bands wear, the mass media will leak over the scribe lines into an accumulator. When an accumulator stress reaches a set restrict, the oxygen compressor will automatically quit. “As static closes are utilized,” recommends Al-Qasem, “there is not any leakage of gases for the atmosphere, and no reason to purge or vent the crankcase.”

A motor-powered crankshaft linked to a piston moves a column of hydraulic liquid up and down. Pressure occurs since the hydraulic liquid is forced upwards to fill the lower oil-dish cavity, applying a uniform force towards the base of the diaphragm set, deflecting it in to the H2-loaded gasoline-plate cavity previously mentioned. The displacement from the diaphragm up against the gasoline-dish cavity squeezes the H2, driving it out the release check valve. Since the piston, which moves the hydraulic liquid, strokes downward, the diaphragm is drawn back down into the lower cavity, the inlet check valve opens, and also the top cavity fills up with H2. The period is repeated.

The key advantage to diaphragm compressors will there be is not the concern for leakage as with other compressors or pumps.

Stephen St. Martin of Gasoline And Air Techniques, Inc. reviews that “Diaphragm compressors are used to compress H2 in tube trans-filling and tube trailers offloading procedures, and for gasoline recuperation from your vapour space of cryogenic storage vessels. Because of its high-pressure ability, and inherently oil-free compression, the diaphragm compressor is also frequently used in car hydrogen fueling stations, where demands of 10,000 psi and above are currently used.”

The hydrogen fuel cell demands extremely-wholesomeness H2 to function correctly. “The diaphragm compressors,” according to Osama Al-Qasem, “are designed to offer precisely this feature. Countless diaphragm compressors happen to be set up globally within the renewable energy program to discover option resources for oil.” Al-Qasem claims that 85 to 90 % with this market requiring diaphragm compressors had been supplied by Pdc.

Diaphragm compressors are great for high-pressure programs. It is really not surprising that diaphragm compressors are perfect for hydrogen applications, particularly in the development of the emerging hydrogen economic climate. Osama Al-Qasem revealed one unique and interesting emerging “double-green” technologies. Pdc has compressors being utilized together with wind turbines. The electric power from wind turbines can be utilized to supply a water electrolyzer to electrochemically divided water into its elements, hydrogen and o2. One feature that creates the marriage of these two systems this kind of interesting match is that the electrolyzer can operate with adjustable energy enter, as windmills turn at varying rates of speed, based on the wind. Hydrogen thus created is compressed and kept for later use, either in a stationary energy cell to produce electrical power when there is no wind, or even to supply a hydrogen car.

Hydrogen compressor programs are many. They include making use of solar energy to electrolyze water to produce H2, which, like the windmill application, is then compressed and kept for later on use, either inside a fixed energy cell to create electricity if you have no sunshine, or fuel a hydrogen vehicle. Compressors are employed at hydrogen fuel cell stations, such as these for automobiles, buses, fork-raises, scooters, and household re-fuelers for fuel cell (FC) vehicles; for filling and off-launching H2 from tube trailers, gas cylinders, and storage space tanks; for that pressure of syngas from green sources; as well as for wind and solar technology. H2 compressors are employed in these disparate applications as gas mixing, recycling, and combining, metal processing, hydrogenation of edible oils, specialty gas purification, float glass production, and power herb turbine cooling. Fumes for semiconductor, electronics and fiber optics production need compressors. Also, they are used for feedstock for chemical substance, petrochemical and pharmaceutical sectors, stress improving and storage of fumes from on-site era techniques, as well as for energy back-up using hydrogen FC for telecommunication towers, as well as study and development.

Multi-phase Reciprocating Piston Compressors

Multi-phase reciprocating piston compressors are commonly utilized for compression of H2 gas. Piston compressors work on a easy idea. Rick Turnquist, with RIX Industries instructs, “The piston in a large cylinder forces a fixed quantity of gas in to a smaller tube, thereby resulting in a stress increase. This is based on the ideal gas legislation, which in abbreviated type is: PV=nT (stress x volume = Moles of gas by temperature). Therefore as volume will go down, pressure rises (note after the final stage the stress increase is forced by the back pressure inside the user’s tank or piping).”

Turnquist continues on to describe that “H2 compressors are exactly like those employed to compress other gases; nevertheless there are occasionally style distinctions due to the tiny molecular dimensions of the H2. These may be: a unique valve design; unique piston diamond ring materials; overlapping piston ring design to minimize leakage; lower pressure proportions; or tube and head castings may must be impregnated to prevent leaks brought on by casting porosity. Furthermore, the grade of metal utilized in the pressure finish elements may have to be altered.”

Hydrogen, like all gases, is heated up by compression. “Intercooling” in the gas is necessary when using multiple-stage high pressure compressors.

The largest end-users of multi-phase reciprocating oil free screw compressor are refineries and chemical plants. Clients include such companies as Air Products, Praxair, and Chevron Study. These compressors can also be used lrnhbl some refueling applications, for syngas, aviator vegetation, and lab R&D.

Centrifugal Compressors

Centrifugal compressors are seldom used for hydrogen programs as a result of molecule’s low molecular weight. Nevertheless, centrifugal compressors are used in cryogenic H2 applications in which flow is comparatively higher as well as the stress head desired is relatively low. Barbers Nichols Inc. (BNI), designer and producer of specialty turbo-machines, has made cryogenic H2 centrifugal compressors for just two programs. Those two programs include sub-cooling H2 by sketching down fluid boil-off gasoline stress below atmospheric. Jeff Shull, with Barber Nichols, clarifies that “this produces a more packed fluid that can then be applied within a rocket more effectively (requires less space and decreases overall weight). BNI utilized 4 individual centrifugal phases (4 single phase machines every using a motor) to attract down the stress to roughly 3 psia with an atmospheric pressure outlet and runs for a propellant densification test at NASA. BNI’s H2 cryogenic compressors use a motor and bearings operating at room temperature with an overhung impeller on the hollow shaft to minimize heat enter to the fluid. No powerful closes are employed so designs are hermetic. BNI has also provided a number of H2 circulators in supercritical applications (supercritical H2 is more like a liquid compared to a gasoline, however) for cryogenic chilling.”

Hydrogen Compressor – Things To Consider..

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