Hydrogen as a fuel
On the road to climate-friendlier mobility, hydrogen is gaining importance as an energy source for fuel cells. However, fueling of hydrogen is more complex than fueling of gasoline and diesel. Unlike other gases, hydrogen heats up as it expands, causing pressure and temperature changes during fuelling that need to be precisely monitored. Therefore, Heinrichs Messtechnik GmbH has developed the TMU-W 004 mass flow meter, which ensures precise metering despite pressure and temperature fluctuations. The device is the first of its kind certified to international standard OIML R 139 2018 and thus approved for hydrogen filling stations. A robust, slender housing protects specially arranged sensors and measuring loops that use the Coriolis effect and enable very precise flow measurement. The attached transducer converts the sensor signals into a reading that can be used to further analyse the flow rate. At the same time the meter measures the temperature of the medium. The TMU-W 004 is suitable for high-pressure applications up to 1000 bar. This newly developed device is already in use at filling stations of the listed company Nel Hydrogen.
Hydrogen as a fuel is gaining ground in Germany, in part due to the stimulus packages passed by the government. Currently Germany has the most public hydrogen filling stations in Europe, according to Statista. Worldwide, Germany is in second place after Japan. “For passenger cars, fueling the hydrogen is typically done at 700 bar. This high pressure is necessary to generate the energy density needed for useful ranges,” explains Guido Thometzki, CEO of Heinrichs Messtechnik GmbH. “During this process the temperature must not exceed +85 °C, since otherwise the tank lining can be compromised.” Since the tank expands and heats up during filling, the hydrogen is cooled before it gets to the tank. This high-pressure environment combined with the small size of the hydrogen molecule makes special demands on the accuracy of flow monitoring.
Therefore, Heinrichs Messtechnik GmbH optimized its proven Coriolis Mass Flow Meter for such high-pressure applications, and now offers the TMU-W 004, a version of the new TMU-W series specially designed for handling hydrogen. The meter ensures that during filling, the amount of hydrogen transferred to the vehicle tank is measured accurately. This enables correct billing of the amount filled, which is a prerequisite for fuelling at public hydrogen filling stations. It covers a measurement range of 0.133 kg/min H2 to 4 kg/min H2. Thanks to structure and fluid simulations performed during the development phase, it was possible to achieve the optimum arrangement and dimensions of all the mechanical and electromechanical components. As a result, the device is the world’s first and thus far the only flow meter to obtain certification to international standard OIML R 139 2018, which covers measurement systems for compressed gaseous fuels in vehicles. The listed Norwegian company Nel Hydrogen is already using the TMU-W 004 successfully at its filling stations.
Special arrangement of sensors gives precise results
For the meter to fit into Nel’s narrow fuel dispensers, it was designed substantially narrower than its predecessor models. Inside the compact and deformation-resistant housing are two U-shaped measuring tubes arranged in parallel. „An exciter system causes the measuring tubes to vibrate at their natural frequency. As the medium flows through these tubes, the Coriolis effect causes additional phase-shifted deviations of the tubes,” explains Thometzki. “Sensors positioned at the optimum points on the measuring tubes pick up these phase-shifted deviations and send them as signals to the transducer (also called the transmitter) for further analysis. From them, the current mass flow is calculated.” The special device architecture – that is, the shape of the measuring tubes and the ideal positioning of the sensors on the tubes – along with the further harmonizing of the other components such as the gusset plates, make this a particularly sensitive and accurate meter, despite the thick walls of the measuring tubes. This robustness on the part of the measuring tubes is necessary in order to withstand the high 1000 bar pressure (the test pressure is actually 1500 bar). The tough, fully welded housing with corrugations for added stiffness gives ample protection for the sensitive measurement equipment within.
The flow amount can be evaluated using the pulse or status output of the transducer. „The user also gets information on the temperature of the flow, and optionally the density as well. This can be used to control the compressor pumping the hydrogen, for example switching to a higher volume or conversely interrupting pumping,” adds Thometzki. The transducer has a two-line LCD display that shows the values directly. The unit is easy to configure using the four keys provided on it. Among other functions, the user can define outputs and do fault analysis with the keys. The transducer can be set up as a round version or installed in a switchgear cabinet as a rack version. Both the TMU-W 004 housing and the field housing of the transducer are pressure-resistant and intrinsically safe, which helps prevent fire or explosion in case gas escapes.
Simulations and flow measurements ensure measurement precision
In the development, manufacture and calibration of its meters, Heinrichs Messtechnik GmbH makes use of many simulation and optimization methods to ensure the precision and reliability of its devices under all conceivable conditions. “Devices for handling high-pressure gases like hydrogen, such as the new TMU-W 004 for hydrogen filling stations, naturally cannot be an exception,” explains Thometzki. “On the contrary, in the development of the TMU-W 004 in particular we used specially developed high-precision simulation methods for the flow and structural design, like FEM (finite element method), CFD (computational fluid dynamics), and FSI (fluid structure interaction).” Only in this way was it possible in the TMU-W 004 to meet the seemingly contradictory requirements of the highest measurement precision and extreme reliability in handling high-pressure gases. The measurement precision also had to remain high despite pressure and temperature fluctuations during filling. “The fact that the TMU-W 004 not only meets the requirements of OIML R 139 2018, but significantly exceeds them with its precision class rating of 1.5 for hydrogen, shows, especially in international comparison, how much the TMU-W 004 development team has accomplished,” says Dr Thomas Chatzikonstantinou, technical director at Heinrichs Messtechnik GmbH in conclusion.
Further information: www.heinrichs.eu
For over a hundred years, Heinrichs Messtechnik GmbH, founded in 1911 in Düsseldorf, has developed and sold flow meters. From the beginning, one of its core markets was the chemical and petrochemical industry, and so since the '60s the company has pushed the development of all-metal float-type flow meters. In the mid-1980s, Heinrichs was the first European company to build a mass flow meter using the Coriolis effect, and in the years that followed steadily expanded its Coriolis instrument line. Today the company has customers in many industries, including chemicals oil/gas, energy, and plant and mechanical engineering. In 2008, Heinrichs became part of the Kobold Group, giving it an extensive sales network thanks to the Group’s international subsidiaries. Heinrichs develops and manufactures all of its products in-house at its headquarters in Cologne, which currently employs 60 people.
KOBOLD Instruments SDN BHD
ZP-G-03A, ZEST POINT, LEBUHRAYA BUKIT JALIL, BK9, 47180 PUCHONG, SELANGOR, MALAYSIA
Tel: +60 (0)3 8065 5355
Kobold Messring GmbH, your leading company in the field of industrial measuring and control devices from the area of flow, pressure, level and temperature.
As experts in the field of industrial measuring and control equipment, we offer our customers a comprehensive portfolio of services and equipments which can be installed and used in various industrial production plants worldwide. Our quality "Made in Germany" and our fast and flexible adaptation to the requirements of our partners has given us an excellent reputation worldwide. If you are looking for a strong and flexible partner in the field of measurement and control equipment, we are the right choice. Thanks to our many years of experience and our worldwide activities, we have established ourselves as a reliable partner for industries around the world.
Measuring, Controlling and Automating with Kobold
Our offered technical solutions can be quickly and easily integrated into a wide range of industrial systems and can be used in various industrial sectors. By using various measuring transmitters, the measurement and threshold values of our sensors and our analytical instruments can easily be integrated into different systems and monitored by these systems. Thanks to internationally recognized BUS interfaces, integration into most known and used systems is possible directly from the factory. In addition, we offer a complete industrial measuring and control technology, which allows to automate and to functionalize various processes. Thanks to our measuring and control technology, complex industrial processes can be optimally automated and adapted to the highest requirements.
We offer a wide range of specializations for various branches of industry. In addition to many built-in measuring instruments and sensors, it includes a range of professional hand tools that are used in a wide range of industries. Important in these offers is the high processing quality and the high measuring standards of these devices, which allows comparing their performance with fixed measuring probes and measuring instruments. Kobold's devices are distinguished by their sophisticated and modular design and ease of use, and are therefore extremely popular among users.
Flow meters, flow controllers, flow indicators and flow sensors
In order to measure the flow rates in industrial plants or to test the composition of the liquid flowing through, Kobold Messring GmbH has developed a series of flow sensors and flow meters, which can be used in a wide variety of working environments. Thanks to the use of a wide variety of materials and different physical measuring principles, these flow sensors and flow meters can be optimized for a wide range of liquids, gases, temperatures, solutions, pressure ratios and flow rates. Thus, the right solution can be found for every application area.
Level indication or continuous measurement
Within the scope of the automation of industrial processes, monitoring of filling levels is an important issue for liquids as well as for bulk solids. Float switches and level indicators from Kobold Messring GmbH work extremely reliably within a defined tolerance range. Level indicators and level sensors can be adapted to a wide range of liquids and environments, and can also be used in environments with heavily polluted fluids. The data of the level indicators can either be read directly on the display, or can be integrated into the various control and monitoring systems by means of a measuring transducer and a BUS interface. Thanks to the wide selection of different level measuring devices and level switches, monitoring and measurement of the most varied filling levels can be carried out reliably at any time.
Pressure gauges, pressure sensors and pressure switches from Kobold
Kobold Messring GmbH has quickly established itself in the area of pressure monitoring and pressure measurement of plants. Different pressure gauges are used in a wide variety of plants worldwide and are persuading by their reliability and their low measuring tolerances. Pressure gauges can be used both for monitoring the pressure and for pressure-dependent control of plants and processes. Thanks to modern and functional pressure switches, many processes in the industry can be reliably pressure-controlled automated. This is not only a mean of optimizing the process, but in many cases also of safety, since an overpressure in the system can be reliably detected and remedied by the pressure measuring devices and pressure switches. Various pressure gauges and pressure sensors operate with relative pressure, absolute pressure, as a differential pressure gauge and raise the pressure monitoring to a new level.
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