Hydrogen Fuel Cell Pressure Sensors

As the market for hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles and equipment continues to grow, so does the need for hydrogen compatible pressure sensors to safely monitor common uses such as dispensing and high pressure storage. Hydrogen is commonly used as an alternative fuel source in:

  • Forklifts & lift trucks
  • Power generation
  • Commercial vehicles (buses, trucks, etc.)
  • Automobiles

Hydrogen presents difficulties when it comes to pressure sensors that need to be considered when selecting the correct sensor configuration. Two of the most common sensor concerns in Hydrogen applications are hydrogen embrittlement and hydrogen permeation.

Hydrogen permeation occurs when hydrogen atoms (H2) split into two separate hydrogen ions (H+). This separation occurs under specific process conditions, commonly under high pressure and high temperature. These hydrogen ions are small enough to pass through the thin metal diaphragm’s molecular structure.

Hydrogen embrittlement is the degradation of the mechanical properties of the sensor diaphragms metal resulting from direct contact with hydrogen. Correct material selection is ideal in combating hydrogen embrittlement. Common sensor materials such as 17-4 stainless steel and nickel-based alloys such as Inconel 718 should be avoided.

Core Sensors has a complete line of pressure sensors, transducers and transmitters designed to overcome these complications and provide a high quality/long life solution for your hydrogen application.

Design/Material Selection

Fluid filled sensor diaphragms are highly susceptible to hydrogen permeation and should be avoided. Hydrogen ions that pass through the thin diaphragm will form hydrogen bubbles in the fill fluid causing zero and span shifts. Over time these bubbles can expand and cause the diaphragm to bulge and eventually fail, resulting in the fill fluid leaking and contaminating the process.

Core Sensors utilizes a solid piece of 316L stainless steel which is free of fluid filled cavities, sealing materials such as o-rings, and weld joints. This solid piece of stainless steel contains the hydrogen within the pressure port and eliminates the possibility of the media escaping or breaking down the metal, commonly seen in two piece sensor designs.

Industrial

For industrial applications where hazardous certification approvals are not required, the CS10 Industrial Pressure Transducer can be packaged to meet the demands of hydrogen environments. Pressure ranges are available from 50 PSI up to 20,000 PSI in solid 316L SS. Customers have the choice of various output signals including 4-20mA loop powered for long distance transmissions and voltage outputs for low power and low current consumption applications. A variety of electrical connections are available from standard DIN connections to M12x1 and integral cable for a higher IP67 rating. Custom configurations are available for OEM projects.

Hazardous – Intrinsically Safe

For hydrogen applications requiring intrinsic safety, the CS70 Intrinsically Safe Pressure Transducer is recommended. This sensor line can be configured similar to the CS10 with all solid 316L stainless steel material and a variety of configurable options. Hazardous approvals include CSA Class I, Division 1 Groups A, B, C and D T4 (Class I Zone 1 AEx ia IIC t4 Gb).  Zone 0 approvals are available on configurations with a 6-Pin Bendix electrical connection.

Common Model Number Configurations

Core Sensors is able to customize sensor configurations to best fit your application and installation requirements. Below is a list of common model numbers and the typical use in hydrogen fuel cell applications:

Model NumberDescriptionTypical Use
CS10-GA00020BG2C000-000-20 Bar, 3/8-24 UNF-2A Male process connection, 0.5-4.5V ratiometric output signal (5VDC regulated power supply), Packard Metripack 150, 316L SS wetted material, GaugePost regulator pressure into PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane)
CS10-4A00020BG2C000-000-20 Bar, 7/16-20 UNF Male process connection, 0.5-4.5V ratiometric output signal (5VDC regulated power supply), Packard Metripack 150, 316L SS wetted material, GaugePost regulator pressure into PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane)
CS10-GA00448BS2C000-000-448 Bar, 3/8-24 UNF-2A Male process connection, 0.5-4.5V ratiometric output signal (5VDC regulated power supply), Packard Metripack 150, 316L SS wetted material, Sealed GaugeHigh pressure Hydrogen storage
CS10-4A00448BS2C000-000-448 Bar, 7/16-20 UNF Male process connection, 0.5-4.5V ratiometric output signal (5VDC regulated power supply), Packard Metripack 150, 316L SS wetted material, Sealed GaugeHigh pressure Hydrogen storage
CS10-XA00900BS2C021-000-900 Bar, 1/2-20 UNF w/ Dual O-Ring, 0.5-4.5V ratiometric output signal (5VDC regulated power supply), Packard Metripack 150, 316L SS wetted material, Sealed GaugeHigh pressure Hydrogen storage

Core Sensors is ready to assist with the proper pressure sensor selection for your application and installation requirements. Contact us today at (862) 245-2673 to speak with a representative or fill out the contact form below.

Featured Products

<center>CS10 Industrial Pressure Transducer</center>

CS10 Industrial Pressure Transducer

<center>CS70 Intrinsically Safe Pressure Transducer</center>

CS70 Intrinsically Safe Pressure Transducer

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