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Increasing need for safe hydrogen loading and unloading requires cutting-edge technology

Published by , Senior Editor
Global Hydrogen Review,

With environmental concerns moving to the forefront of daily life, more vehicle manufacturers are introducing hydrogen-powered vehicles into service. Producers of everything from large semi-trailer trucks to buses and passenger cars are jumping on the technology that provides extended driving range with zero greenhouse gas emissions — water being the only by-product. One major concern, however, is the safety and reliability of dispensing hydrogen into those vehicles, while adhering to both governmental regulations and industry safety standards.

Emerson has developed a solution for both issues: the Micro MotionTM HPC020 High-Pressure Coriolis Flow Meter. Here, Genny Fultz, Product Manager and Market Expansion Researcher for Emerson, answers some frequently asked questions about the Micro Motion HPC020.

Increasing need for safe hydrogen loading and unloading requires cutting-edge technology

How does the Micro Motion HPC020 differ from previous products such as the HPC015?

Fultz: Our High-Pressure Coriolis (HPC) platform has been designed to meet the flow requirements of international standards of hydrogen refueling, SAE J2601-1. It corresponds to 3.6 kg/mn for the Micro Motion HPC015 and 7.2 kg/mn for the Micro Motion HPC020. It means the Micro Motion HPC015 is specifically suitable for refueling light and medium duty vehicles such as car and industrial vehicles while the HPC020 offers flexibility for all types of vehicles, including heavy duty equipment and large passenger vehicles. The dimensions for the HPC020 are the same compact dimensions as the Micro Motion HPC015, and it offers the same electronic configurations, process connections, and Smart Meter Verification software. The main difference is flow rate, which is a real time and money saver.

With the increasing demand for loading and unloading high-pressure hydrogen into vehicles, how does the Micro Motion HPC020 perform better than previous models in those applications?

Fultz: We found there is a market for filling larger commercial and passenger vehicles at a faster rate to keep the time of the fill similar to what it would take to fill a diesel truck. For truck drivers, time is money, and a faster fill means they can get back on the road more quickly. In addition to dispensing applications, we’ve also found a need for measurement at the tube trailer loading and offloading point within the hydrogen fuel transportation value chain. Between the production and the consumption, for example, the design of the Micro Motion HPC020 reflects those changes in the market by utilising sensor components that are slightly different than the Micro Motion HPC015 to allow for a higher flow rate while keeping the high batch accuracy.

What are some of the challenges in metering hydrogen?

Fultz: Hydrogen offers a great opportunity to use sustainable energy sources to fuel vehicles of all different types and sizes. Like other gaseous fuels, it can be compressed and kept at high pressures to pack the most miles possible into a single fueling. A flow meter used in the batch fueling process needs to remain accurate over a very wide and dynamic range of conditions, including pressures in excess of 10 000 psi from –40° C to 60° C ambient. One of the biggest challenges is temperature, due to the nature of the gas. Coriolis technology offers the best solution for meeting these demands. Emerson’s Micro Motion High Pressure Coriolis platform has been fully tested and witnessed by notified bodies during the metrological certification process including evaluation of the pressure and temperature effects on the measurement. As a result, we have obtained the metrology OIML R139 certificate covering the largest flow rate on the market for these H2 dispensing applications, proving the highest performance of our HPCs.

From a safety standpoint, what makes the HPC020 a leader in the field?

Fultz: The Micro Motion HPC020, along with all our HPC sensors, has an austenitic stainless-steel material called XM-19. It has excellent corrosion resistance and produces excellent performance at both high and low temperatures. XM-19 has roughly twice the strength of 316L. It is also resistant to hydrogen assisted cracking so that prevents a lot of things that would normally break down at the weld point or within the tubes.

Once a sensor has been installed in the field, the likelihood of that meter ever needing any kind of maintenance is very low. That eliminates the need for anyone to open the dispenser because of the flow meter, which is another way of improving safety by reducing the need for human interaction. Another aspect related to safety is functional safety. Many users and dispenser manufacturers use the flow meters as a safety barrier in their installation and require SIL approval for the device they use. Our HPC platform along with our Micro Motion 5700 Coriolis Transmitter offer the possibility to integrate the Coriolis mass flow measurement in the safety loop, either for SIL2 or SIL3 level.

How does the Micro Motion HPC020 help a company manage costs?

Fultz: Regular maintenance and yearly replacement of components, which many measurement technologies require, can be costly. Coriolis sensors do not require any of that and are designed to be installed and left alone to work. This saves companies a lot of money. We also offer our proprietary Smart Meter Verification diagnostic software that uses onboard diagnostics with the flow transmitter to continuously monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) that maintain measurement accuracy and meter integrity. This reduces costs through early detection of any issues in the process.

To learn more about Emerson Micro Motion HPC020 High Pressure Coriolis Flow Meters, please visit:

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