Full-scale prototype hydrogen generator debuts

Proton Energy Systems has completed the construction and commenced in-house testing of its first full-scale, high pressure, prototype compact hydrogen generator.

This unit, based on Proton’s commercial HOGEN 20 hydrogen generator, produces 20 standard cubic feet per hour (SCFH) of ultra-high purity hydrogen gas, pressurised internally within the system without a compressor to 2000 psi output pressure. The company believes that the accomplishment is a milestone in its commercial deployment of direct high-pressure hydrogen generation products.

Proton’s multi-cell HOGEN hydrogen generator systems create pressure without a mechanical compressor using solid-state compression within the electrochemical cell stack. Electrochemical compression of hydrogen using this technique is simpler, quieter, more efficient, and provides cleaner hydrogen at a lower cost than conventional mechanical compression.

A one hundred times increase in hydrogen pressure requires only a 3% increase in power input to the system compared to mechanical compressors that require significantly more power. Proton’s proprietary technology has undergone continuous laboratory development since mid-1999.

‘Our demonstrated ability to make high pressure, high density fuel from water captures a central advantage of PEM electrolysis over other methods of on-site hydrogen production,’ Chip Schroeder, President and Chief Executive Officer for the Company stated.

Trent Molter, Senior Vice President of Technology and New Business added, ‘Proton’s technology can eliminate or greatly simplify mechanical compressors now needed for hydrogen compression. It opens up markets including automotive refuelling, industrial cylinder filling, and telecommunications backup power that hinge upon the ability to generate and store high-pressure hydrogen. Our commercially-configured prototype system indicates that we are on track to achieve commercial release of this product in 2003.’

Proton’s high-pressure cell stacks are a key element in each of Proton’s product families. Proton’s UNIGEN Regenerative Fuel Cell Systems store electricity in the form of compressed hydrogen gas, and deliver power, via a fuel cell reaction, on demand when needed.