Hydrogen liquefiers

Hydrogen liquefaction is an essential technology for advancing hydrogen-based energy systems, as it enables the safe and efficient handling of this valuable resource.

Hydrogen liquefaction is the process of compressing and cooling hydrogen gas until it condenses into a liquid state at 20 K (-253 °C). The liquid state is more compact and easier to handle than its gaseous form. It is stored without pressure in special insulated containers until it is ready to be transported in trailers or used. One liquid hydrogen trailer replaces four to eight truck trips with compressed hydrogen.

Linde has decades of experience in the construction of hydrogen liquefaction systems.
We offer liquefiers from small (<3 mTPD) to medium (5 -30 mTPD) to large capacities (>50 mTPD).

A series of new projects in recent years have been carried out as lump sum turnkey installations or as E&E supplies with subsequent supervision of installation and commissioning. This fund of experience has been the basis for the continuous development of components. Key components include aluminum-plate heat exchangers and expansion turbines with dynamic gas bearings, developed and manufactured in our own production centers.

Hydrogen liquefier

System capacities

For small-capacity liquefaction plants up to 3 mTPD, a closed helium circuit supplies the refrigeration necessary to cool the hydrogen. Pure hydrogen gas at approx. 20 bar is fed into the vacuum-insulated cold box and, after a certain degree of subcooling at the end of the refrigeration process, it expands through a Joule-Thomson valve into the storage tank. The helium refrigeration cycle and hydrogen liquefaction are completely separated. The main components of the system are the helium compressor with oil purification, the cold box with heat exchangers and helium expansion turbines, the liquid hydrogen tank and filling stations for transportable containers. 

For liquefaction capacities over 3 mTPD, the necessary refrigeration for cooling and ortho-para conversion of the hydrogen is attained by means of a hydrogen Claude process, i.e. at the cold end of the process the H2 feed gas can be combined with the H2 of the refrigeration process.

The following main components are used for this process:

  • piston compressors
  • precooling
  • TED expansion turbines with dynamic gas bearing
  • liquefier cold box

For larger-scale systems, separate cold boxes can be considered – a first box for cooling the hydrogen from ambient temperature to 80 K and a second box from 80 K down to 20 K.

Further system components of a liquefaction plant are:

  • hydrogen purification
  • raw gas compressors
  • storage tanks
  • trailer filling stations

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