A new technology that lowers the cost and increases the efficiency of dispensing hydrogen at refuelling stations has been developed by The US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.
The technology was developed by Argonne Researchers Amgad Elgowainy and Krishna Reddi to address the high cost issue associated with the deployment and operation of hydrogen refuelling stations.
Argonne’s technology was recently transferred to global compressor manufacturer PDC Machines, through a combination of mechanisms that include a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement and Technology Licensing Agreement.
“The refuelling station itself is roughly half of the cost that customers pay at the dispenser and roughly half of the station equipment cost comes from the compressor,” said Amgad Elgowainy, Argonne Researcher.
“You don’t want your major capital investment, this big cost item, to be sitting underutilised. We tried to see how we could overcome that dilemma while increasing the fuelling capacity of the compressor, which can have an impact on the bottom-line hydrogen cost for fuel cell vehicle customers.”
The team’s “pressure consolidation” technology increases the fuelling capacity of the compressor by supplying it with a high-pressure stream of hydrogen. The solution takes advantage of the compressor’s basic working principles.
The technology also consolidates the pressure of the hydrogen in the supply storage vessels during periods of low fuelling demand. When demand rises again, the compressor receives a high-pressure stream of hydrogen, which enables the compressor’s throughput to remain high and increasing the station’s capacity.
The patented pressure consolidation technology offers refuelling station operators a saving of up to 30% on their equipment costs by minimising the amount of time the compressor remains idle.
“This technology has the potential to disrupt a consumer’s fuel choice. The hydrogen economy offers excellent alternatives,” Argonne Research Engineering Munidhar Biruduganti.