hydrogen compressors for hydrogen refueling stations compress hydrogen gas from its original state (gaseous) to the higher pressures required for fuel cell vehicle dispensing. The resulting higher volume, lower density, and improved safety characteristics make it easier to store on-site, transport, and handle.
The compressor system can be supplied by the refueling station’s production technology (hydrogen electrolysis or reforming) or from an external source. It may also be integrated into an existing hydrogen production and pipeline facility. HRSs typically keep the bulk of their hydrogen on-site at gaseous form in cascade buffer storage tanks at different pressures to meet standard refueling protocols such as SAE J2601.
Hydrogen Compressors 101: Key Components and Operation for Sustainable Fueling Infrastructure
At the heart of these HRSs are one or more efficient, leakage-free compressors. The compressors are designed to withstand the harsh operating conditions and high temperatures found at refueling stations and must be reliable for long periods of time. The compressors may be based on reciprocating, rotary positive displacement, or centrifugal technology. In addition to the compressor itself, the HRS will require heat exchangers and control systems that monitor and optimize performance.
The choice of compression technology will be project-specific. Reciprocating and turbo compressors both have strengths in low mol-weight applications, and each can provide solutions for a wide range of compression requirements. For optimum efficiency, the compressor should be optimized for the desired application. This is achieved by selecting the right capacity and pressure at the inlet, ensuring the right flow rate through the compressor, and using a control system to ensure that the average compression ratio (APRR) is maintained.