You can find numerous hydrogen compressor and pump technologies in use nowadays. Types of compressors include diaphragm, reciprocating piston, and centrifugal. Pumps for hydrogen applications contain various kinds of positive displacement techniques. Every diaphragm compressor and pump system functions utilizing various methods, and each can be used for specific factors and for specific marketplaces.

Introducing readers to this particular topic, we requested several hydrogen compressor and pump manufacturers to explain the techniques used in hydrogen programs nowadays.


Hydrogen will be the easiest and most abundant element in the world. (See CGI, Feb. 2008, p. 52.) It is an effective, low-polluting, renewable fuel. Growing hydrogen technologies require storage and the usage of hydrogen at higher pressures.

Compressors are used to increase the stress of gaseous hydrogen (H2). In general, however, liquids are certainly not deemed compressible. Pumping systems therefore are used to boost the pressure of fluid hydrogen (LH2) at the use point through providing a continuing stream. Restrictions and last use back stress make the pressure increase. LH2 at high pressure is then converted to vapour because it goes by via a vaporizer, and it is utilized or stored in the raised pressure. Gaseous compressors and liquid pumping systems are both found in hydrogen applications.

Even though the basics of compressing and working are common to many fumes and liquids, you can find unique differences and specifications, including safety, when confronted with hydrogen. One of the most popular challenges to utilizing hyrogen is its secure containment, due to its low molecular mass.


The 3 fundamental varieties of compressors – diaphragm, reciprocating piston, and centrifugal (also known as radial) – have different characteristics that will make them suitable for use in different settings.

Diaphragm Compressors

“Diaphragm compressors,” advises Osama Al-Qasem with Pdc Machines Inc., “are the ideal choice for compressing gases without having taking on contamination from the procedure mass media or seepage of gas to background air.” H2 is isolated from your mechanical elements of the compressor and from the atmosphere by way of a set of three metallic diaphragms. They are clamped among two exactly contoured concave tooth decay in upper and lower dishes. The 3 diaphragms are nested and act with each other as one. The top diaphragm is in touch with the H2 as well as the base is in touch with the hydraulic oil. A 3-diaphragm set is used to make certain there is no cross-toxic contamination between the hydraulic oil and the H2 being compressed. The center diaphragm, employed for leak detection, has lines scribed on sides. When a leak grows within the top or lower diaphragm, or maybe the O-rings wear, the media will seep over the scribe lines into an accumulator. When an accumulator pressure gets to a set limit, the nitrogen compressor will instantly stop. “As fixed closes are used,” advises Al-Qasem, “there is not any leakage of gases to the environment, and no reason to purge or vent the crankcase.”

A engine-powered crankshaft linked to a piston moves a column of hydraulic fluid up and down. Pressure occurs since the hydraulic fluid is pushed upward to fill up the lower oil-plate cavity, exerting a consistent force towards the base of the diaphragm set, deflecting it into the H2-loaded gas-dish cavity previously mentioned. The displacement of the diaphragm from the gasoline-plate cavity compresses the H2, driving it out the release check valve. Since the piston, which moves the hydraulic fluid, strokes downwards, the diaphragm is driven back down to the lower cavity, the inlet check valve opens, and the top cavity fills up with H2. The cycle is repeated.

The primary advantage to diaphragm compressors will there be will not be the concern for leakage as with other compressors or pumping systems.

Stephen St. Martin of Gas & Air Systems, Inc. reports that “Diaphragm compressors are used to compress H2 in cylinder trans-satisfying and pipe trailer offloading operations, and then for gasoline recuperation through the vapor space of cryogenic storage vessels. Due to the high pressure capability, and naturally oil-totally free compression, the diaphragm compressor is also commonly used in vehicle hydrogen fueling stations, in which pressures of 10,000 psi and previously mentioned are used.”

The hydrogen fuel cell requires extremely-purity H2 to function properly. “The diaphragm compressors,” according to Osama Al-Qasem, “are created to provide exactly this function. Hundreds of diaphragm compressors have been set up around the world included in the alternative energy program to discover alternative resources for oil.” Al-Qasem claims that 85 to 90 percent with this marketplace requiring diaphragm compressors were provided by Pdc.

Diaphragm compressors are perfect for high-pressure applications. It is far from surprising that diaphragm compressors are ideal for hydrogen applications, particularly in the development of the emerging hydrogen economy. Osama Al-Qasem revealed one unique and interesting growing “double-green” technology. Pdc has compressors used along with wind turbines. The electric energy from wind turbines can be utilized to supply a water electrolyzer to electrochemically split water into its elements, hydrogen and o2. One feature which makes the relationship of these two technologies this kind of fascinating match would be that the electrolyzer can run with adjustable power enter, as windmills transform at different speeds, in accordance with the wind. Hydrogen thus created is compressed and stored for later use, either within a fixed energy cell to produce electricity should there be no wind, or even to provide a hydrogen car.

Hydrogen compressor programs are lots of. They consist of utilizing solar power to electrolyze water to generate H2, which, like the windmill application, will be compressed and stored for later on use, either in a fixed fuel cell to generate electrical power if you have no sunshine, or fuel a hydrogen car. Compressors are employed at hydrogen fuel cell stations, such as these for automobiles, coaches, fork-raises, scooters, and residential re-fuelers for fuel cell (FC) cars; for satisfying and away-launching H2 from pipe trailers, gasoline cylinders, and storage tanks; for the compression of syngas from renewable resources; and for wind and solar technology. H2 compressors are used in such disparate applications as gasoline blending, trying to recycle, and mixing, metal handling, hydrogenation of edible oils, specialty gasoline filtering, float glass production, and power herb turbine cooling. Fumes for semiconductor, electronics and fiber optics manufacturing need compressors. They are also employed for feedstock for chemical substance, petrochemical and pharmaceutical sectors, stress improving and storage of fumes from on-site generation techniques, and then for power back-up utilizing hydrogen FC for telecommunication towers, as well as research and development.

Multi-stage Reciprocating Piston Compressors

Multiple-stage reciprocating piston compressors are generally used for compression of H2 gasoline. Piston compressors work over a easy theory. Rick Turnquist, with RIX Industries instructs, “The piston in a big cylinder pushes a fixed amount of gas into a smaller cylinder, therefore causing a pressure improve. This is based on the perfect gasoline law, which in abbreviated type is: PV=nT (stress by volume = Moles of gasoline x temperature). Thus as volume goes down, stress goes up (note after the final stage the stress improve is forced from the back pressure within the user’s tank or piping).”

Turnquist continues on to explain that “H2 compressors are exactly like these used to compress other gases; nevertheless you can find sometimes design differences because of the very small molecular dimensions of the H2. These may be: a special valve design; special piston ring components; overlapping piston ring design to minimize leakage; lower pressure ratios; or cylinder and head castings may must be impregnated to prevent leaks brought on by casting porosity. Furthermore, the grade of steel found in the compression finish elements may have to be changed.”

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

The biggest end-customers of multi-phase reciprocating liquid nitrogen generator are refineries and chemical plants. Customers include this kind of businesses as Air Items, Praxair, and Chevron Study. These compressors are also utilized lrnhbl some refueling applications, for syngas, aviator vegetation, and laboratory RAndD.

Centrifugal Compressors

Centrifugal compressors are rarely utilized for hydrogen programs due to the molecule’s low molecular weight. Nevertheless, centrifugal compressors are employed in cryogenic H2 applications where stream is relatively higher as well as the pressure head desired is relatively reduced. Barbers Nichols Inc. (BNI), developer and producer of specialized turbo-machinery, makes cryogenic H2 centrifugal compressors for just two programs. Those two applications involve sub-cooling H2 by drawing down fluid boil-off gas pressure below atmospheric. Jeff Shull, with Barber Nichols, explains that “this produces a much more dense fluid that can then be used within a rocket more efficiently (takes up less space and decreases overall weight). BNI utilized four individual centrifugal stages (four single phase machines every having a engine) to draw down pressure to approximately 3 psia having an atmospheric pressure outlet and high runs for any propellant densification check at NASA. BNI’s H2 cryogenic compressors utilize a motor and bearings working at room heat having an overhung impeller on a hollow shaft to minimize warmth enter towards the fluid. No powerful seals are employed so styles are hermetic. BNI also has provided several H2 circulators in supercritical applications (supercritical H2 is much more like a fluid compared to a gas, however) for cryogenic cooling.”

Nitrogen Compressor – Unique Info On This Issue..

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