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Title: Electrochemical Hydrogen Compressor

Abstract

The Electrochemical Hydrogen Compressor EHC was evaluated against DOE applications for compressing hydrogen at automobile filling stations, in future hydrogen pipelines and as a commercial replacement for conventional diaphragm hydrogen compressors. It was also evaluated as a modular replacement for the compressors used in petrochemical refineries. If the EHC can be made inexpensive, reliable and long lived then it can satisfy all these applications save pipelines where the requirements for platinum catalyst exceeds the annual world production. The research performed did not completely investigate Molybdenum as a hydrogen anode or cathode, it did show that photoetched 316 stainless steel is inadequate for an EHC. It also showed that: molybdenum bipolar plates, photochemical etching processes, and Gortex Teflon seals are too costly for a commercial EHC. The use of carbon paper in combination with a perforated thin metal electrode demonstrated adequate anode support strength, but is suspect in promoting galvanic corrosion. The nature of the corrosion mechanisms are not well understood, but locally high potentials within the unit cell package are probably involved. The program produced a design with an extraordinary high cell pitch, and a very low part count. This is one of the promising aspects of the redesigned EHC.more » The development and successful demonstration of the hydraulic cathode is also important. The problem of corrosion resistant metal bipolar plates is vital to the development of an inexpensive, commercial PEM fuel cell. Our research suggests that there is more to the corrosion process in fuel cells and electrochemical compressors than simple, steady state, galvanic stability. It is an important area for scientific investigation. The experiments and analysis conducted lead to several recommended future research directions. First, we need a better understanding of the corrosion mechanisms involved. The diagnosis of experimental cells with titration to determine the loss of membrane active sites is recommended. We suspect that the corrosion includes more than simple galvanic mechanisms. The mechanisms involved in this phenomenon are poorly understood. Shunt currents at hydraulic cathode ports were problematic, but are not difficult to cure. In addition to corrosion there is evidence of high component resistivity. This may be due to the deposition of organic compounds, which may be produced electrochemically on the surface of the metal support screens that contact carbon gas diffusion layers (GDLs) or catalyst supports. An investigation of possible electro-organic sythesis mechanisms with emphasis on oxalates formation is warranted. The contaminated cell parts can be placed in an oxidizing atmosphere at high temperature and the weight loss can be observed. This would reveal the existence of organic compounds. Investigation into the effects of conductivity enhancers such as carbon microlayers on supporting carbon paper is also needed. Corrosion solutions should be investigated such as surface passivation of 316 SS parts using nitric acid. Ultra thin silane/siloxane polymer coatings should be tried. These may be especially useful in conjunction with metal felt replacement of carbon paper. A simple cure for the very high, localized corrosion of the anode might be to diffusion bond the metal electrode support screen to bipolar plate. This will insure uniform resistance perpendicular to the plane of the cell and eliminate some of the dependence of the resistance on high stack compression. Alternative materials should be explored. Alternatives to carbon in the cell may be helpful in any context. In particular, alternatives to carbon paper GDLs such as metal felts and alternatives to carbon supports for Pt such as TiC and TiB2 might also be worthwhile and would be helpful to fuel cells as well. Some alternative to the metals we used in the cell, Mo and 316 SS, are potentially useful. These include Al/Mg/Si alloys. Corrosion resistant materials such as Nb and Mo might prove useful as cladding materials that can be hot stamped. Several cost reduction areas should be explored. Such as the water pumps used in pressure washers. The power consumption of these pumps is a concern, but their cost is surprisingly low. Two components of unit cell construction proved to be extremely costly. The first of these is photoetching, where selective etching of alloys present a corrodible composition in the cell. An alternative to photoetching may be hot stamping. An investigation of materials for hot stamping and the dimension tolerance attainable with this process should be first on the agenda. Hot stamping of clad materials should also be studied. Photoetched electrode supports can be replaced with expanded metal screens (Dexmet). The other high cost area is the use of Gortex TFE seals. Analytic’s prior experience with Acrylic seals shows they can probably replace TFE.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Analytic Power Corp., Santa Fe, NM
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE - Office of Energy Research (ER)
OSTI Identifier:
883089
Report Number(s):
DOE-ER-84220-9
TRN: US200711%%247
DOE Contract Number:
FG02-05ER84220
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; BYPASSES; CATALYST SUPPORTS; COMPRESSORS; ELECTROCHEMICAL CORROSION; FUEL CELLS; GASOLINE SERVICE STATIONS; HYDROGEN; NITRIC ACID; ORGANIC COMPOUNDS; STAINLESS STEELS; WATER PUMPS; hydroge; compressor; electrochemical; transportation; refinery

Citation Formats

David P. Bloomfield, and Brian S. MacKenzie. Electrochemical Hydrogen Compressor. United States: N. p., 2006. Web. doi:10.2172/883089.
David P. Bloomfield, & Brian S. MacKenzie. Electrochemical Hydrogen Compressor. United States. doi:10.2172/883089.
David P. Bloomfield, and Brian S. MacKenzie. Mon . "Electrochemical Hydrogen Compressor". United States. doi:10.2172/883089. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/883089.
@article{osti_883089,
title = {Electrochemical Hydrogen Compressor},
author = {David P. Bloomfield and Brian S. MacKenzie},
abstractNote = {The Electrochemical Hydrogen Compressor EHC was evaluated against DOE applications for compressing hydrogen at automobile filling stations, in future hydrogen pipelines and as a commercial replacement for conventional diaphragm hydrogen compressors. It was also evaluated as a modular replacement for the compressors used in petrochemical refineries. If the EHC can be made inexpensive, reliable and long lived then it can satisfy all these applications save pipelines where the requirements for platinum catalyst exceeds the annual world production. The research performed did not completely investigate Molybdenum as a hydrogen anode or cathode, it did show that photoetched 316 stainless steel is inadequate for an EHC. It also showed that: molybdenum bipolar plates, photochemical etching processes, and Gortex Teflon seals are too costly for a commercial EHC. The use of carbon paper in combination with a perforated thin metal electrode demonstrated adequate anode support strength, but is suspect in promoting galvanic corrosion. The nature of the corrosion mechanisms are not well understood, but locally high potentials within the unit cell package are probably involved. The program produced a design with an extraordinary high cell pitch, and a very low part count. This is one of the promising aspects of the redesigned EHC. The development and successful demonstration of the hydraulic cathode is also important. The problem of corrosion resistant metal bipolar plates is vital to the development of an inexpensive, commercial PEM fuel cell. Our research suggests that there is more to the corrosion process in fuel cells and electrochemical compressors than simple, steady state, galvanic stability. It is an important area for scientific investigation. The experiments and analysis conducted lead to several recommended future research directions. First, we need a better understanding of the corrosion mechanisms involved. The diagnosis of experimental cells with titration to determine the loss of membrane active sites is recommended. We suspect that the corrosion includes more than simple galvanic mechanisms. The mechanisms involved in this phenomenon are poorly understood. Shunt currents at hydraulic cathode ports were problematic, but are not difficult to cure. In addition to corrosion there is evidence of high component resistivity. This may be due to the deposition of organic compounds, which may be produced electrochemically on the surface of the metal support screens that contact carbon gas diffusion layers (GDLs) or catalyst supports. An investigation of possible electro-organic sythesis mechanisms with emphasis on oxalates formation is warranted. The contaminated cell parts can be placed in an oxidizing atmosphere at high temperature and the weight loss can be observed. This would reveal the existence of organic compounds. Investigation into the effects of conductivity enhancers such as carbon microlayers on supporting carbon paper is also needed. Corrosion solutions should be investigated such as surface passivation of 316 SS parts using nitric acid. Ultra thin silane/siloxane polymer coatings should be tried. These may be especially useful in conjunction with metal felt replacement of carbon paper. A simple cure for the very high, localized corrosion of the anode might be to diffusion bond the metal electrode support screen to bipolar plate. This will insure uniform resistance perpendicular to the plane of the cell and eliminate some of the dependence of the resistance on high stack compression. Alternative materials should be explored. Alternatives to carbon in the cell may be helpful in any context. In particular, alternatives to carbon paper GDLs such as metal felts and alternatives to carbon supports for Pt such as TiC and TiB2 might also be worthwhile and would be helpful to fuel cells as well. Some alternative to the metals we used in the cell, Mo and 316 SS, are potentially useful. These include Al/Mg/Si alloys. Corrosion resistant materials such as Nb and Mo might prove useful as cladding materials that can be hot stamped. Several cost reduction areas should be explored. Such as the water pumps used in pressure washers. The power consumption of these pumps is a concern, but their cost is surprisingly low. Two components of unit cell construction proved to be extremely costly. The first of these is photoetching, where selective etching of alloys present a corrodible composition in the cell. An alternative to photoetching may be hot stamping. An investigation of materials for hot stamping and the dimension tolerance attainable with this process should be first on the agenda. Hot stamping of clad materials should also be studied. Photoetched electrode supports can be replaced with expanded metal screens (Dexmet). The other high cost area is the use of Gortex TFE seals. Analytic’s prior experience with Acrylic seals shows they can probably replace TFE.},
doi = {10.2172/883089},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon May 01 00:00:00 EDT 2006},
month = {Mon May 01 00:00:00 EDT 2006}
}

Technical Report:

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  • Conventional compressors have not been able to meet DOE targets for hydrogen refueling stations. They suffer from high capital cost, poor reliability and pose a risk of fuel contamination from lubricant oils. This project has significantly advanced the development of solid state hydrogen compressor technology for multiple applications. The project has achieved all of its major objectives. It has demonstrated capability of Electrochemical Hydrogen Compression (EHC) technology to potentially meet the DOE targets for small compressors for refueling sites. It has quantified EHC cell performance and durability, including single stage hydrogen compression from near-atmospheric pressure to 12,800 psi and operationmore » of EHC for more than 22,000 hours. Capital cost of EHC was reduced by 60%, enabling a path to meeting the DOE cost targets for hydrogen compression, storage and delivery ($2.00-2.15/gge by 2020).« less
  • Global conversion to sustainable energy is likely to result in a hydrogen-based economy that supports U.S. energy security objectives while simultaneously avoiding harmful carbon emissions. A key hurdle to successful implementation of a hydrogen economy is the low-cost generation, storage, and distribution of hydrogen. One of the most difficult requirements of this transformation is achieving economical, high density hydrogen storage in passenger vehicles. Transportation applications may require compression and storage of high purity hydrogen up to 12,000 psi. Hydrogen production choices range from centralized low-pressure generation of relatively impure gas in large quantities from steam-methane reformer plants to distributed generationmore » of hydrogen under moderate pressure using water electrolysis. The Electrochemical Hydrogen Separator + Compressor (EHS+C) technology separates hydrogen from impurities and then compresses it to high pressure without any moving parts. The Phase I effort resulted in the construction and demonstration of a laboratory-scale hardware that can separate and compress hydrogen from reformate streams. The completion of Phase I has demonstrated at the laboratory scale the efficient separation and compression of hydrogen in a cost effective manner. This was achieved by optimizing the design of the Electrochemical Hydrogen Compression (EHC) cell hardware and verified by parametric testing in single cell hardware. A broad range of commercial applications exist for reclamation of hydrogen. One use this technology would be in combination with commercial fuel cells resulting in a source of clean power, heat, and compressed hydrogen. Other applications include the reclamation of hydrogen from power plants and other industrial equipment where it is used for cooling, recovery of process hydrogen from heat treating processes, and semiconductor fabrication lines. Hydrogen can also be recovered from reformate streams and cryogenic boil-offs using this technology.« less
  • An initial assessment of hydrogen compressor technology for prospective energy systems applications is documented. Hydrogen, and hydrogen/natural gas blends, are generally related to the existing state-of-the-art in natural gas compressors. Visits to natural gas transmission and storage facilities are reported on from the compressor-applications standpoint. Present applications of hydrogen compressors, as reported by both manufacturers and users are summarized. Theoretical fluid-dynamic and thermodynamic analysis of these fuel gases in compressors is provided. The implications of materials problems considered relevant to compressors are breifly discussed. Some general observations and recommendations from the assessment are presented.
  • An initial assessment of hydrogen compressor technology for prospective energy systems applications is documented. Hydrogen, and hydrogen/natural gas blends, are generally related to the existing state-of-the-art in natural gas compressors. Visits to natural gas transmission and storage facilities are reported on from the compressor-applications standpoint. Present applications of hydrogen compressors, as reported by both manufacturers and users are summarized. Theoretical fluid-dynamic and thermodynamic analysis of these fuel gases in compressors is provided. The implications of materials problems considered relevant to compressors are briefly discussed. Some general observations and recommendations from the assessment are presented.