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Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) Lab Dr. Jacob Leachman


DSC_0250-1From left to right: Jasper Haney, April Saavedra, Tyler Scott, Lance Alderson, Kirsten Hirzel
Objective: Team compression is responsible for integrating a compressor inside the storage container. The compressor must operate with H2 and compress it to the required pressure for the Heisenberg vortex tube.

Background / Team progression:

Before getting into our compressor needs, lets take a look at our team coming into this project and how we progressed find through the semester. Starting out proved to be a more difficult task than initially assumed. H2 compression is not as easy as compressing plain old air. Market availability and efficiency’s quickly proved distasteful. Fortunately, we had some information available to us from the previous team working on integrating a compressor. Their team’s findings can be found here .
The previous team gave us a good starting point. For most of us it was simply learning the vocabulary and understanding different methods of H2 compression.
We began our journey researching and reviewing different H2 compression techniques. Using this information we assembled a House of Quality (HoQ). The HoQ is part of the quality function deployment (QFD) which is a method to transform customer needs to engineering characteristics. Product planning HoQ for a compressor can be seen in the following diagram.


As a team, we generated the list of demanded qualities and assigned relative weights of importance. Using this we were able to quantify design alternatives to the customer demanded qualities. We also identified three competing technologies and how they addressed certain characteristics.
The next step of our HoQ is parts planning. Parts planning allowed us to come up with key part features that addressed the key characteristics previously used in our product planning. Taking a slightly different path, we used Stuart Pugh’s total design matrix method to construct a Pugh matrix. The Pugh matrix is a simplified version of the process seen above. Below is Team Compression’s Pugh matrix.




The Pugh matrix developed compares our engineering characteristics to multiple paradigms. Using what we learned from our HoQ, we turned our focus to three different compressor paradigms. The following compressor paradigms were presented to the clients for our midterm design review.


para1 para2 para3

After presenting and receiving feedback from the clients, necessary changes to our slides/paradigms was implemented:
  1. H2 compression via Ionic liquid, although possible, is not ideal. Being a somewhat new technology, implementing an ionic liquid compressor would burn a deep hole in the projects budget.
  2. Focus was set on specific models which will serve as a direct comparison to the leading industry standard.
  3. Provide comparable characteristics such as power usage, flow rate, 5 year projected cost etc.
Implementing these changes required us to review the compressor requirements. These requirements are listed further down the page.
Comparing the leading industry standard compressors from RIX or HydroPac to Haskel’s Gas Booster helped make our final recommendation (see below for comparison and recommendation).



  • Inlet ≈ 100psi
  • Outlet ≈ 2000 – 3000 psi
  • Contamination free
  • 60 kg/day , 12.5kg/day liquefied
  • Affordable
  • Low Maintenance



  • Diaphragm compressor

Description: The diaphragm compressor uses a flexible membrane instead of an intake Element
PDC Machines manufacturers industrial high pressure gas compressors. Their diaphragm compressor is contamination-free and outputs high compression ratios. PDC Machines ensures high product purity, low capital costs, high efficiency and low energy usage from their compressors. More information about PDC Machines and their diaphragm compressor:


  1. Diaphragm compressors rage in size 3 hp to 250 hp.
  2. Discharge pressure range from 50 psi to 60,000 psi.
  3. Below 85db at one meter.
  4. Approximately 3 cubic meters.
  • 4VX Series (RIX)

Description: 4VX gas booster features heavy-duty crosshead construction in a “V” cylinder arrangement with totally oil-free compression.
RIX offers industrial grade hydrogen compressors. Similar to PDC Machines hydrogen compressor, the 4VX offers up to 4 stage oil-free compression.
For more information on the 4VX Series and other RIX compressors:


  1. Safety switches
  2. Pressure gauges
  3. intercoolers and aftercoolers
  4. corrosion resistant piping
  5. relief valves
4VX Series


  • LX-Series (Hydro-Pac)

Description: Gas compressor via hydraulically driven intensifier.


  1. Oil-free non lubricated gas pistons.
  2. Wide range of inlet pressures.
  3. Water cooled gas cylinders.
  4. Single and 2-Stage machines.
2 Stage LX Series:


  • Gas Booster (Haskel)

Description: The Gas Booster offers a flexible and efficient source of high pressure gasses with a pneumatic actuated piston. Haskel’s gas boosters require an external air source to operate.
  1. Built in cooling offers no heat generation or flame risk.
  2. Oil-free no lubrication for gas pistons.gas booster
  3. Complies with standards NFPA 2 7.1.21 (hydrogen compressor safety), NFPA 55 (compressed gasses cyrogenic fluids) and SAE J2719 (hydrogen fuel purity standard).
  4. Approximately 1 cubic meter.
  5. Approximate life span of 20 years (Monthly maintenance required).


Operating the Gas Booster with H2 requires a safe ventilated area and vents piped to controlled environment. Haskel offers many types of gas boosters for various applications, flow rates, and desired pressure.
More info about Haskel’s gas boosters can be found


Drive compressor:drive

Operating Haskel’s gas booster requires a drive compressor. A reciprocating piston and screw compressor were considered.
Key aspects such as maintenance and overhead costs were considered when deciding upon which drive compressor will best fit our needs.
  1. Rotary screw compressors maintenance is limited to oil changes, air filter ect.
  2. reciprocating compressors typically require more periodic maintenance such as valves and piston rings.
  • 208/230/460V 3 phase screw compressor
  • 20 HPcompare
  • 145 psi
  • 240 gallon
  • 67 CFM
  • $14,578.00
  • Includes controller



The leading industry standard is a reciprocating piston compressor from RIX or HydroPac.
Comparison of Haskel’s Gas booster to leading industry standard RIX 4VX and HydroPac
  • HydroPac

HydroPac information

Price quote from HydroPac: HydroPac_est
  • Haskel Gas Booster


  • RIX

RIX information

Taking into consideration the compressor requirements, HydroPac and RIX meet all the requirements however they are not cheap. Haskel is the most cost effective but it does not meet our flow requirements for this project.



To be Determined



Integration of the compressor will require:
  • Hydrogen Leak Detection: Standard NFPA 2-, Hydrogen Leak Detection must detect leaks at no more than 0.6%.
  • Power: The Gas Booster will require approximately 40 SCFM of inlet air.
  • Insulation: Ensure noise/heat generated is properly absorbed.
  • Systems Integration: Standard NFPA 2-7.1.21, Systems Integration must have adequate space for compressor. Systems Integration must also include remote shut off for compressor.
  • Connections: Standard ASME B31.12, Connections must have proper H2 system piping and connections.




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