How Coriolis technology is making hydrogen dispensing safer, efficient

Feb. 13, 2023
Hydrogen is a sustainable fuel solution that is quickly gaining traction in the global marketplace. Despite it being an efficient and sustainable energy source, hydrogen dispensing requires the utmost safety parameters to ensure risk are mitigated. That is especially true for one of green hydrogen’s primary potential uses – vehicles such as trucks and tank cars. 

Emerson Automation Solutions is on the forefront of solving the safety risks present in hydrogen dispensing thanks to one of its newest products, the Micro Motion High-Pressure Coriolis HPC020 Flowmeter, which is set to debut in March.  

Genny Fultz, global product manager for Emerson Automation Solutions, talked with Control about the new unit, the increasing market interest in hydrogen, the challenges facing dispensing, and the safety and cost benefits of HPC020.

For more information on the Micro Motion High-Pressure Coriolis HPC020 Flowmeter, visit emerson.com/micromotionHPC

Transcript

Len Vermillion: Hello everyone. Welcome to this edition of the Control Amplified podcast. I'm Len Vermilion, editor-in-Chief of Control magazine, and we have a very interesting discussion on tap today. That's because we're going to talk about something that's received quite a bit of buzz lately, and that's hydrogen. Hydrogen, of course, is a sustainable fuel solution that is quickly gaining traction in the global marketplace. Now, despite the fact that it is an efficient and sustainable energy source, hydrogen dispensing requires really the utmost safety parameters to ensure risk are mitigated.

Genny Foltz, global product manager for Emerson Automation Solutions is here today to talk about the new Micro Motion, high pressure Coriolis HPC 20 flow meter, which is really an ideal solution for hydrogen dispensing and truck loading.

So welcome to the podcast, Genny. 

Genny Fultz:Hi Len. Good to be here.

Vermillion: Hi. And I think you've been on with us before, so this is really a return engagement for you. 

Fultz: Yeah. Always excited to talk about HPC. 

Vermillion: Right. So this is a great subject. So let me start here. There appears to be an increasing demand for loading and unloading high pressure hydrogen into vehicles such as trucks and tank cars. Does the HPC 20 perform better than previous models in those applications or even competition? 

Fultz: Well, we have found that there is a market for filling larger commercial and passenger vehicles at a faster rate to keep up with the diesel truck industry. But in addition to dispensing those applications, we've also found that there's a need for loading tube trailers as well. The loading and offloading point within the hydrogen transportation value chain is something that we've been looking into quite recently. With that in mind, the design of these HPC sensors, specifically the HPC 20 reflects those changes in the market by utilizing sensor components that are slightly different than the 15, that allows for a higher flow rate while keeping the batch accuracy at 0.5%. 

Vermillion: Well, that's very interesting. So now, there are also some challenges facing users in metering hydrogen, especially with regards to temperature, pressure, and accuracy. Can you talk a little bit about that? 

Fultz: Hydrogen like other gaseous fuels, it can be compressed and kept at high pressures in order to pack from how possible into that single fueling. But the flow meter uses the batch fueling process, and it needs to remain accurate over a wide variety of that fill. So a wide variety and dynamic range of conditions, like including pressures accessing 10,000 PSI, and the temperature range, it's pretty crucial that it is able to perform at negative 40 C all the way up to 60 C, and this is ambient temperatures. So it's something to keep in mind with a flow meter. And Coriolis technology offers the best solution for those types of metering needs. 

Vermillion: Now, hydrogen leaks can be a very serious safety hazard, obviously. So how does the HPC 20 protect the safety aspects of the dispensing operation in particular? 

Fultz: Well, one thing to note about the Coriolis sensors, they're well suited for these types of applications because of their completely welded assembly. And ours, the micro motion sensor, is a fully welded assembly, meaning that the only connections are the inflow and outflow of the meter. So the HPC 20 in particular uses a... I'm sorry, the HPC 15 and 20 uses hydrogen embrittlement resistant materials. Those materials are XM 19, which is an austenitic stainless steel commonly used in aviation and nuclear industries when working with hydrogen related fuels. It has nearly twice the strength of 316 L, and it's a pretty good choice when working with the higher pressures necessary when refueling hydrogen cars or large trucks. Another additional benefit to using a coriolis sensor is that they're extremely reliable. We have this phrase that you install it, you set it, and forget it. Once the sensor's been installed in the field, the likelihood of that meter ever needing any kind of maintenance is very low. That eliminates the need for anybody to open the dispenser, to check the flow meter, and reducing those touchpoints is another way of improving safety in the field. 

Vermillion: Another aspect that I'm sure everybody is interested in is costs. So now, how does the unit help manage costs? That's another big area to talk. 

Fultz: The benefit of having a Coriolis sensor is that it doesn't require regular maintenance, like I just discussed a little bit earlier. It also doesn't require any yearly replacement components like some other technologies I think DP Flow and some of these others require. The sensors are designed to be installed and left alone to work, and we also offer smart meter verification software that uses onboard diagnostics with the flow transmitter, and it continuously monitors those key performance indicators that maintain measurement and accuracy and meter integrity. So over long-term, this reduced costs through early detection of any issues that you possibly have in your dispensing process. 

Vermillion: Now, we didn't really mention in the beginning, the HPC 20, there's two models, there's the M and the N. So I wonder if you can discuss the differences between those two models? 

Fultz: Yeah, I'm happy to talk about that. The HPC 20 has two different models, as you said, the M and the N, the HPC 20 M sensor is designed for a 700 bar system that flows at a little bit higher rate, at nine kilograms per minute nominal flow rate. And the HPC 20 N sensor is designed for a 700 bar system that has an additional safety pressure requirement. That pushes that pressure rating higher than the M model, approaching 10 70 bar while flowing at a little bit reduced nominal flow rate at 7.7 kilograms per minute. The both sensors though, have the same face-to-face dimensions on the exterior of the sensor, like the case and connection points are all the exact same dimensions, but the difference is, it really comes down to the material components within the sensor that allows for those pressure rating and nominal flow rate differences. 

Vermillion: Well, thank you, Genny. That's a great look at HPC 20 and Coriolis technology. Now, when will this be available? We didn't really establish that. 

Fultz: Yeah. These sensors are available beginning of March, the first week, so we're looking forward to accepting pre-release quotes at the moment for these, and yeah, first week of March. 

Vermillion: Wonderful. So definitely check that out. I'm sure there's a lot of information on the Emerson website. And Genny, once again, thank you for being with us. 

Fultz: Thank you. It was a pleasure. 

 For more, tune into Control Amplified: The Process Automation Podcast.

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