Hydrogen Purity Analysis

20th September 2011

ITM Power (AIM: ITM), the energy storage and green fuel company, is pleased to announce the outcome of its joint study with the UK’s National Physical Laboratory into hydrogen purity analysis. The study shows that the UK has developed key analytical methods to detect trace impurities in hydrogen to the levels specified in international standards and that hydrogen produced by electrolysis (electrolytic hydrogen) does not require extensive purification in order to comply with these standards.

The future uptake of hydrogen as a fuel is crucially dependent on the availability of hydrogen of sufficient purity, as impurities at even trace levels can severely affect the performance of fuel cells. These purity requirements are being set out in the draft International Standards ISO/DIS 14687-2 and ISO/WD 14687-3.

In order to meet this pressing industrial need for accurate and traceable hydrogen purity analyses, the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has developed a suite of analysis methods in a collaborative project with ITM Power, Air Products and the UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association.

The challenges successfully overcome during the development of these methods include:

  • Achieving the highly challenging (low ppb-level) specifications for key components.
  • Developing methods for reactive and non-stable components (e.g. sulphur species and formaldehyde) by the use of passivated sampling vessels and analytical devices.
  • Overcoming the lack of traceability for some analyses – stable gaseous reference materials are not currently available for a number of components.
  • Avoiding air contamination (crucial for the measurement of oxygen and nitrogen).
  • Ensuring that a representative sampling method is used to take samples of hydrogen into cylinders for laboratory analysis.

During this study, in which ITM Power was closely involved, the Company provided a range of hydrogen samples from its electrolyser systems and hosted sampling trials.

Dr Simon Bourne, Chief Technology Officer at ITM Power commented: “This is great news for ITM Power because it shows that hydrogen produced by electrolysis is essentially compliant with the ISO standards without the need for additional purification plant, only requiring removal of water and oxygen – something which can be achieved using low cost methods. Being able to demonstrate compliance to the rigorous purity levels required for fuel cell use is clearly important and I am pleased that ITM Power is at the forefront of this drive.”

For further information please visit www.itm-power.com or contact:

ITM Power plc,
Graham Cooley, CEO,
0114 244 5111

Nomura Code Securities Limited
Juliet Thompson / Dr Christopher Golden
+44 (0)20 7776 1200

Tavistock Communications,
Simon Hudson / Andrew Dunn,
020 7920 3150

Rebecca Markillie
Marketing & Communications
E: rlm@itm-power.com
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