135-MPa testing equipment has been added to hydrogen research facilities at the Iwatani R&D (research and development) centre. The aim of this addition is to reduce the construction costs of hydrogen filling stations.

Iwatani has revamped its hydrogen research facilities in the Iwatani R&D centre located in Amagasaki, in Hyogo Prefecture. The company aims to build a system for the durability testing of equipment at the extremely high pressure of 135 MPa.

The system will be used to help reduce infrastructure construction costs and strengthen maintenance technology for hydrogen filling stations. The cost of the upgraded facilities has not been announced. 

Since the opening in 2013, the Iwatani R&D has undertaken hydrogen-related R&D with ultra high-pressure hydrogen gas research facilities for testing at 85 MPa and liquefied hydrogen research with cryogenic facilities for testing at -253°C.

Revisions in regulations set the current maximum supply pressure for hydrogen filling station at 82 Ma. Under these circumstances, Iwatani, which is also an engineering company, feels it is important to not rely only on manufacturers to develop the main equipment for hydrogen filling stations.

The company has therefore increased the pressure of its testing facilities, to appraise the quality of equipment together with manufacturers to achieve the best possible combinations of equipment -hoping to achieve reduced cost of hydrogen filling stations and ensure greater safety.

Out of the revamped facilities, the ultra high-pressure hydrogen gas research facilities were updated by adding ultra high-pressure hydrogen compression equipment to enable testing equipment at the stress pressure of 135MPa.

The HyAC mini, an all-in-one, compact compressor package for stationary hydrogen refuelling stations,from Kobe Steel, which is used as the compressor in hydrogen filling stations, is used to increase the pressure to 70MPa, and then a booster made by Hydro-Pac is used to increase the pressure further to 135 MPa (with a flow rate of 90 Nm³/h).

This high-pressure hydrogen gas is used for impulse testing and gas leakage testing of valves, joints, filling hoses, and other equipment used in filling stations by repeatedly pressurising and depressurising the equipment.

It has also introduced facilities to enable performing hydrogen exposure tests and hydrogen brittleness evaluation tests to investigate distortion and cracking under a high-pressure hydrogen atmosphere to enable development of materials suitable for usage with hydrogen.

In its liquefied hydrogen research facilities previously, liquid hydrogen was used in only one direction to test the performances of valves, flexible hoses, and other equipment, but another liquid hydrogen container was added to enable flow testing in both directions.

Facilities have also been added to enable testing durability of equipment for repeated cycles of liquid hydrogen temperature and room temperature, as well as testing changes that occur after long-term immersion of equipment in liquid hydrogen.

The facilities that currently perform durability testing of equipment used for high-pressure hydrogen gas in Japan include the hydrogen energy test and research centre (HyTReC) in Itoshima, fukuoka prefecture and the tsukuba research facility of the Japan automobile research institute (JARI) in Tsukuba, Inbaraki Prefecture.

HyTReC uses a normal pressure of 110 MPa and JARI a normal pressure of 95 MPa, making the normal pressure used at the Iwatani R&D Centre the highest level in Japan.


Asia-Pacific Indurstrial Gas Conference

The gases business in the Asia-Pacific region will be in focus next week as gasworld hosts its Asia-Pacific Industrial Gas Conference 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 3-5 December.

The conference will explore dynamics in the region, the changing face of the gases industry globally, and the hot topics in gases and technologies under the theme Business Models & Tools for Success.

Tickets are limited, but you could still secure your place at the event – be sure not to miss out on this progressive conference for the industry. For bookings and more information, contact Abbey Stones at +44 1827 225031 or abbey.stones@gasworld.com. Alternatively, visit gasworldconferences.com.

Follow coverage of the event online across the gasworld website (gasworld.com) or on Twitter via the hashtag #GWAsia2018