Hydrogen Compression Fundamentals: Here’s What You Need To Know
Hydrogen gas compressors are used across several industries. From semiconductor manufacturing, aerospace application, energy production and hydrogen filling stations to businesses that utilize oil, gas, and pharmaceuticals. While there are different types of compressors, these high pressure vessels have one goal- to pressurize hydrogen gas and transform it into a more manageable liquid state.
Hydrogen, in its gaseous state, is challenging to store primarily because of safety issues. A high-pressure equipment manufacturer can be instrumental in helping you recover, store and conserving hydrogen more securely and efficiently.
Compressors vs Pumps
Both compressors and pumps contain high pressure vessels that are used to increase the pressure of different gases. Hermetically sealed compressors are more efficient because they minimize vapor loss.
Nonetheless, some situations call for the use of pumps. Hydrogen compressor systems certainly lower the risk of leakage and preserve product purity more so than pumps. If your application requires high pressure gas compressors, it is wise to partner with a diaphragm compressor manufacturer that knows.
The Different Types Of Compressors
There are different types of hydrogen compressors. Each can be used more advantageously over the other depending on the setting and application.
Diaphragm Compressors. diaphragm compressor manufacturers make hydrogen compressors that are safe from both leakage and contamination. A diaphragm compressor is composed of three diaphragm membranes. These membranes flex once a gas that has previously entered the tank completes its down-stroke and rises. On the gas’ up-stroke, the area inside the chamber is decreased, which ultimately pushes the gas out of the compressor. The top membrane is connected with the gaseous hydrogen while the bottom membrane is in contact with the hydraulic oil. The central membrane facilitates leak detection.
Reciprocating piston compressors This device offered by a high-pressure equipment manufacturers utilizes two cylinders. It has a motor with a linear drive that enables a piston to move back and forth. The larger one pushes a certain amount of hydrogen gas into the smaller cylinder. This causes an increase in the pressure of the gas. While they operate like other gas compressors, they are equipped with other components (e.g., special piston ring, special valve design) to further enhance their leak prevention abilities.
Ionic compressors They work like reciprocating compressors. However, instead of a piston, nearly incompressible ionic liquids are used to compress the hydrogen — and it’s the motion of the liquid column that provides the pressure to the gas. Unlike other compressors, an ionic compressor doesn’t have seals and bearings.
Rotary compressors This type of compressor has an elaborate system of gears, lobes, vanes, rollers, and screws. The rotating mechanism is responsible for compressing the hydrogen gas. One of the main issues with this device is its being prone to leakage.
Centrifugal compressors These compressors are typically used when the flow of gas is high and the compression ratio is moderate. This device works by rotating a turbine at high speeds, which, in turn, compresses the gas. With a centrifugal compressor, denser liquid hydrogen can be produced. Compared with other compressors, they are seldomly used for hydrogen applications.
The choice of compressors primarily depends on leakage, safety, and product purity. Other factors that need to be considered include reliability, required performance, and operational and maintenance among others.