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Hydrogen Compressor Pressure Measurements

pressure sensors

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#1 zwienen


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Posted 21 April 2019 - 01:21 AM

We are looking to add pressure-volume measurements as part of Condition Monitoring information to a old  Ingersoll-Rand Hydrogen Makeup Reciprocating Compressor and we are looking for suitable pressure sensors.


Is there anybody out there that has experience with both sensors selection and installation of these sensors?


The compressor has 3 stages with 6 Double Acting cylinders. The cylinders have ports for mounting the pressure sensors. 


The compressor data is as follows:

                        Suction Pressure     Suction Temp     Discharge Pressure     Discharge Temp

                                 (psig)                   (Deg F)                   (psig)                        (Deg F)

1st stage:                  183                     100.4                       570                            302

2nd Stage:                545                     100.4                      1287                           249

3rd Stage:               1249                     100.4                      2835                           243



#2 Bobby Strain

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 09:15 AM

Talk to whomever now owns Ingersoll-Rand. Or search the web. I don't recall ever having such equipment installed permanently. You can usually monitor conditions by the instruments you already have. And bring in a service company to check things when you determine a problem.



#3 thorium90


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Posted 21 April 2019 - 10:27 AM

Pressure sensors for hydrogen service require a gold coating to mitigate hydrogen permeation issues.


Attached some reading material downloaded off the internet.


Quote from the emerson paper:

"Hydrogen gas above 1000 psi (68.9 bar) and/or above 350 °F (176 °C): Diaphragm material Gold-plated SST"


After selection of the pressure sensor, the connection type depends on what you have available on the compressor, probably threaded will be the likely option.

You will probably provide some small needle valves for isolation of the sensor for future maintenance as well. A swagelok type will suffice. One for isolation and one for vent, so you can check the zeroing of the pressure sensor at the same time, and for safety prior to removal.


Next will be communication method, presumably you are not getting just a local pressure gauge only..... That depends where it will go to. Typical methods of communication will be analog by 4-20mA signal. Other methods can be bus type such as profibus, which needs abit more expertise from your instrument engineer to hookup.


Final installation just needs some compressor downtime, inerting, hookup, commissioning, testing etc.

Edited by thorium90, 22 April 2019 - 06:46 AM.

#4 Art Montemayor

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 02:18 PM

I’ve done some Hydrogen compressions in the past - from 300 to 2,500 psig deliveries and I’ve had the same kind of troubling problem with pressure measurements but did much as Thorium recommends.  I consulted with instrumentation companies and got the problem resolved.


Something is fishy in your data.  Your 1st stage discharge temperature is very high as compared with the subsequent stages.  Your stage compression ratios (2.96, 2.33, and 2.26) seem very good and typical of an Ingersoll-Rand design.  I’ve operated these type of compressors but never ran into 300 oF discharge temperatures.  Are your pressure data subjected to the permeation problem you describe?  The high discharge temperature doesn't seem to correspond to the compression ratio in the 1st stage.


Are you having trouble in cooling the suction intakes to at least 90 oF?  Even in Singapore you should be able to do better than 100 oF.


Ingersoll-Rand was bought by Dresser Industries and became Dresser-Rand.  Siemens, AG of Germany bought Dresser-Rand in the late 80s and Dresser-Rand maintains their headquarters here in Houston.  You can - and should - communicate with Dresser-Rand as Bobby recommends and explain your application and ask for recommendations on monitoring the correct discharge pressures.  They should at least respond to you.  These machines were of a formidable design, very robust and trustworthy.  I operated over 20 such compressors, with one of them that was over 40 years old, running like a spring rabbit.  They are worthy of upgrading instead of complete replacement, in my opinion.

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