Active Magnetic Regenerative Liquefier

Period of Performance: 01/01/2007 - 12/31/2007


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

9675 SE 36TH ST
Mercer Island, WA 98040
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


The DOE seeks to develop delivery technologies that will support hydrogen as an energy carrier for transportation and stationary power. Current hydrogen compression technology is not reliable and can contaminate hydrogen, both of which result in high costs. With currently available technology, the delivered cost of hydrogen is too high for it to be a cost-competitive primary energy carrier. This project will develop oil-free, centrifugal hydrogen compressors that will compress hydrogen from 300 to 1,000-2,000 psi through the use of non-contacting, low-leakage foil-seal technology, leading to a capability of transporting up to 1,000,000 kg/day. The approach includes analytical trade studies to establish design requirements, followed by an experimental program to demonstrate the ability of the technology to meet the machine requirements. In Phase I, an existing foil-seal analysis capability will be used to enhance the foil seal design in the hydrogen application. Next, a subscale version of the enhanced seal design will be fabricated, and preliminary static tests will be conducted to verify the performance of the new compliant foil-seal design. In Phase II, the full scale seal will be fabricated, and low leakage will be demonstrated over a wide range of operating conditions. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The new seal technology should enable the viability of large-scale hydrogen gas delivery and allow higher efficiency natural gas pipeline compressors to be built and operated. Based upon the nearly 50 million horsepower of natural gas pipeline compressors in service today, it is estimated that a savings of 33,000 MW-hours of energy per year could be achieved by using oil-free non-contacting bearings and seals in both hydrogen and natural gas pipeline compressors. Significant commercial potential also exists in the aerospace industry by making possible more efficient gas turbine engines.