Coriolis hydrogen fuelling flowmeters

Paul Boughton

Developing clean fuel and hydrogen-fuelled hybrid vehicles is becoming an increasing priority for western economies. As hybrid vehicles become more mainstream the need to provide hydrogen fuelling stations has arisen.

Hydrogen fuelling stations and the concept of the ‘hydrogen highway' are relatively new ideas. Germany currently has 16 such stations in operation across the whole of the country. A further 20 stations are scheduled to be built in the country over the coming years. The first hydrogen fuel station opened in the UK in 2011 and the government has provided funding to deliver 15 stations by the end of this year.

Hydrogen is pumped at very high pressures and its flow measurement needs to be extremely accurate. Therefore, there is a requirement for a robust and accurate flow meter that can operate over a variety of flow and temperature ranges.

In response to this growing need KEM KUEPPERS Elektromechanik GmbH in Germany has developed the TCM 0450 TRICOR Coriolis mass flow meter for clean energy fueling station concepts, in particular hydrogen stations, which is available in the UK through flowmeter specialist Litre Meter.

The TCM0450 is constructed for very demanding applications to work at a 1,050 bar design pressure with threefold safety factor and with integrated pressure and temperature compensation over the entire pressure and temperature range. Particular attention has been paid to the effects of hydrogen embrittlement and the selection of materials to avoid it.

The key benefit of the TCM 0450 is its high precision measurement during hydrogen refuelling.

There are currently 10 different sizes of TRICOR mass flow meter which cover flow ranges of 3-325 kg/hr up to 230-230,000 kg/hr. 

Tubes and housings are constructed from 316L (1.4404) stainless steel as standard and they are suitable for the measurement of any non-abrasive chemical-compatible liquid.

The full range of TRICOR Coriolis mass flow meters offers a measuring accuracy of between ±0.10% and ±0.15%, even in long term operation, and across a temperature range from -60 to +200°C depending on the meter selected. Other TRICOR Coriolis mass flow meters are rated to 100, 200 and 350 bar.

Coriolis technology works by passing a fluid towards (and away from) a centre of rotation through vibrating tubes. The force of the fluid passing through the tubes causes twist which is proportional to the mass flow rate of the fluid passing through them. Sensors and Coriolis mass flow meters transmitters are used to measure the twist and generate a linear flow signal.