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Decoupling High-Density Hydrogen from the Liquid Hydrogen Infrastructure: Catalyst-Filled Heat Exchangers for Modular Cryo-Compressors

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: ARPA-E
Contract: DE-AR0001670
Agency Tracking Number: 1954-1958
Amount: $175,135.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-08-22
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-08-22
Small Business Information
90 Welsh
San Francisco, CA 94107
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Unavailable
Principal Investigator
 David Jaramillo
 (203) 554-3761
Business Contact
 David Jaramillo
Phone: (203) 554-3761
Research Institution

Cryo-compressed hydrogen (CcH2) offers a thermodynamic optimum for high-density, low-cost storage as a key element in achieving economical hydrogen infrastructure. Verne is developing a cryo-compressor technology platform that will convert gaseous hydrogen (GH2) at low pressures (e.g. 20 bar) and 300 K, to CcH2 (60 – 80 K and 300 – 500 bar). These systems provide hydrogen with liquid-like densities with half the energy intensity and at smaller scales relative to liquefaction. This new approach to hydrogen densification disrupts existing infrastructure as it decouples high-density hydrogen from a liquid hydrogen infrastructure. In this work, Verne will further build upon its process modeling work, and will carry out a first-of-kind demonstration for the catalyst-filled heat exchanger of the cryo-compressor. The integration of a high-pressure hydrogen heat exchanger (300 bar), coolant cycle, and ortho-para hydrogen catalyst is a formidable technical challenge. Previous work has focused on low-pressure (typically 20 bar) systems and typically require separate steps for cooling and the exothermic ortho–para (nuclear spin isomers) H2 conversion. Verne proposes to couple cooling and ortho–para conversion in a single system. Conversion of GH2 to CcH2 at small scale (less than 50 kg day) will be demonstrated for the first time. The heat exchanger design, flow rates, and operating protocols will be optimized and empirically probed. Benefits of a CcH2 infrastructure will be highlighted, such as fast fills, and dispensing into a CcH2 storage system will be carried out. If successful, this work will validate cryo-compressors as a way to decentralize high-density hydrogen, and accelerate deployment and utilization of electrolysis and the broader hydrogen infrastructure of the United States and globally.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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