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Project start: Development of an innovative hydrogen compressor system

Compressing hydrogen efficiently and cost-effectively – an important building block for the use of H2 in industry and mobility. Under the project title "InnoKomp", ZBT and plant manufacturer Theisen are developing and qualifying a new electrochemical compressor system to increase efficiency in the storage, transport and delivery of hydrogen.

Heart of the plant: the stack of an electrochemical hydrogen compressor (Photo: HyET)

ZBT's test field: Here the hydrogen compressor will be extensively tested.

The efficient and cost-effective compression of hydrogen is essential for its successful establishment as an energy carrier in industry or as a fuel for mobility. With innovative electrochemical compression, costs could be massively reduced and a high degree of efficiency and availability could be achieved. This is exactly what ZBT and plant manufacturer Theisen are investigating in the joint project "InnoKomp". They are building a robust electrochemical compressor system based on HyET Hydrogen electrochemical compressor technology and testing it on ZBT’s hydrogen test field.

Green hydrogen is one of the keys to a successful energy transition. Produced by electrolysis, it serves as an energy store for renewable energies, as an energy carrier for industry and as a fuel for mobility. Important in the distribution and delivery of hydrogen for industry and especially mobility is an efficient, reliable and cost-effective compression of the gas. Electrolysis hydrogen and hydrogen from converted natural gas transport pipelines are brought to pressures of 200-500 bar for transport and use at filling stations.

An electrochemical hydrogen compressor (EHC) consists of an electrochemical cell with an anode of a PEM fuel cell, a membrane electrode assembly (MEA) and a cathode of a PEM electrolyser. Compression is by means of isothermal compression (as opposed to adiabatic mechanical compressors), promising greater efficiency. With no moving parts, lower maintenance costs and higher availability as well as significantly lower noise emissions are also expected. The cell architecture of the stacks (comparable to a fuel cell) allows – unlike conventional compressors – easy modular scaling of the compressor capacity.

Within the scope of this project, Theisen, with the support of ZBT, will develop, build and commission a container-based compressor system with a delivery capacity of 10 kg/d hydrogen and realizable output pressures of up to 400 bar based on HyET's hydrogen compressor stack (HCS). Certification of the system is being prepared.

In parallel, a test environment is being set up at ZBT's hydrogen test field so that the system can then be subjected to an extensive test programme over several months. The characterization should make it possible to better understand this new compression process and also to compare it with already established technologies.

Funding code: EFO-0153B
Short title: InnoKomp
Duration: 1 January 2023 - 31 December 2024

Department Hydrogen Infrastructure

News article "North Rhine-Westphalia promotes energy transition projects" (in German)

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