An Introduction to Different Types of Hydrogen Compressors

A hydrogen compressor, as the name suggests, is a type of device that compresses hydrogen and turns it into liquid or compressed hydrogen. These devices reduce the volume of hydrogen to achieve the desired results.

Pumps vs Compressors

There is not a great difference between a compressor and a pump. Both of the devices can increase the pressure on a liquid to transport it through a pipe. Since it is possible to compress gases, you can use this compressor to reduce the hydrogen gas volume. On the other hand, a regular pump increases the pressure to transferred liquid hydrogen to another place.


Given below are a few types of Hydrogen Compressors.

Reciprocating Piston Units

These devices are one of the most common units to compress hydrogen. Typically, they can be found in refineries where they are the backbone of crude oil refinement. Usually, these units can be non-lubricated for oil-lubricated. For best results, you must have advanced knowledge of packing rings and piston sealing.

Ionic Liquid Piston Units

As the name suggests, these compressors are based on ionic liquid piston rather than a metal piston. On the other hand, piston metal diaphragm compressors use a different technology.

Electrochemical Units

This type of compressor uses several membrane electrode assemblies just like the one found in proton-exchange membrane fuel cells. The good thing about these units is that they feature no moving parts. Apart from this, they are quite compact. As for as functionality is concerned, an electromechanical compressor is not much different than a fuel cell. When current is passed through the membrane, hydrogen passes through it.

In these units, the pressure requirement is 1000 bars or 14500 PSI. In 2011, a single-stage compression up to 800 bars was recorded.

Hydride Units

In the case of a hydride compressor, they use pressure and thermal properties of the substance in order to absorb hydrogen gas at room temperature. Afterward, high-pressure hydrogen is released at high temperatures in the form of gas. Typically, an electrical coil and hot water is used to heat up the bed of hydride.

Piston-Metal Diaphragm Units

These units are stationary and feature high pressure. They are water-cooled and have four stages. Since compressing gases generates a lot of heat, it is important to know that the temperature of the compressed gas is reduced between different stages in order to make the compression more isothermal. By default, the efficiency ratio is 70% once the process is complete.

Guided Rotor Units

This compressor is based on an involutes trochoid geometry that makes use of a parallel trochoid curve in order to define the fundamental compression volume. As far as the adiabatic efficiency is concerned, the process can give you are a figure of 80 to 85%.

Linear Units

Linear compressors make use of dynamic counterbalancing. In these units, an auxiliary mass is connected to a movable piston assembly and a compressor. The beauty of these compressors is that they have zero vibration while operating. Plus, they don’t use a lot of power.

Long story short, this was an introduction to different types of hydrogen compressors. This will help you opt for the best unit to meet your needs.