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Energy & Utilities

Mass flow and pressure solutions for energy & utilities applications

Technology in the energy and utilities sector continues to evolve to meet increasing global demand and environmental sustainability stresses. Alicat provides flow and pressure regulation solutions for a variety of applications within these industries. These instruments are used in hydrogen production and fuel cell R&D, natural gas monitoring, and wastewater treatment.

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Hydrogen production and fuel cell applications

While using hydrogen for energy is no novel concept, recent developments in the hydrogen economy are introducing new demand to improve the efficiency of hydrogen based energy production. Hydrogen fuel cell technology offers a viable alternative to using hydrocarbon combustion, generating energy with close to net zero carbon production and allowing for more efficient storage and utilization of energy from other renewable sources.

Developing cutting edge, scalable hydrogen infrastructure requires instruments that reflect the unique needs of the hydrogen industry. Below are flow and pressure regulation solutions for hydrogen production and fuel cell applications.

Electrolyzer flow and pressure regulationUsing Alicat controllers for electrolysis hydrogen generation regulation & testing

The developing hydrogen economy is in need of efficient, scalable hydrogen production systems. The advancement of electrolysis technology poses a promising solution, requiring further optimization to maximize viability. Accurate, real-time control of hydrogen and oxygen pressures as well as precise, repeatable regulation of water flow into the electrolyzer are invaluable assets for maximizing electrolysis process efficiency.

Solution recommendation: CODA Coriolis-Series and PC-Series

CODA Coriolis controllers offer stable, high accuracy mass flow control at ultra-low flow rates and high pressures. Add a PC-Series pressure controller to ensure continuous control of anode and cathode pressures.

  • Accurate low-flow control: CODA Coriolis controllers can flow DI water with NIST-traceable accuracy down to 0.08 g/h and up to 100 kg/h, with unmatched resistance to external vibrations.
  • Real-time pressure control: pressure controllers regulate hydrogen and oxygen pressures using input from operator-controlled serial commands or industrial protocols.
  • Compatible with electrolysis conditions: a range of wetted materials and wide operating ranges enable accurate, precise flow and pressure control in high temperature and humidity conditions.

Fuel cell gas flow and pressure regulationUsing Alicat controllers for fuel cell system testing & optimization

Fuel cell R&D is integral to the ongoing development of hydrogen systems. Accurate control of process conditions such as pressure, temperature, and flow rate during hydrogen fuel cell testing improves process efficiency by maintaining required hydrogen and oxygen ratios across the fuel cell stack.

Solution recommendation: MC-Series or PC-Series, with multi-orifice back pressure regulator

Depending on your system priorities, gas inlet lines can be regulated by an MC-Series mass flow controller that regulates mass flow while monitoring pressure, or a PC-Series pressure controller that regulates pressure while monitoring mass flow.  A mechanical multi-orifice back pressure regulator can then be added to maintain exhaust line pressure with high precision even at high temperatures and in the presence of moisture.

  • Wide operating range: turndown ratios of up to 10,000:1 enable rapid control across wide operating ranges for optimizing system conditions.
  • Custom solutions: Alicat mass flow and pressure controllers are available with a range of build options, including zone 2 ATEX certification and remote sensors and valves, to improve system control.
  • Compatible with fuel cell conditions: dome loaded pressure controllers allow regulation up to 450°C and are immune to moisture accumulation, making them ideal for regulation of high temperature, high humidity exhaust gases.

Fuel cell leak checkingFuel cell system leak check setup

Leak checking fuel cell systems is critical for maintaining process efficiency and minimizing the loss of expensive metals in catalyst membrane layers. This is especially challenging in larger fuel cell systems where multi-stage testing often leads to flow spikes. Continuous pressure control and detection of even the slightest leaks and process changes is crucial to optimizing leak checking stations.

Solution recommendation: PCD-Series and MW-Series

A PCD-Series dual valve pressure controller combined with an MW-Series low pressure drop mass flow meter enable precise, efficient leak checking and permeability testing for all sizes of fuel cell systems.

  • Rapid, reliable testing: dual valve pressure controllers take pressure readings every 30 ms, and sensitive PD2I tuning and setpoint ramping protect the membrane from any flow spikes during testing.
  • Low-pressure drop: low pressure drop mass flow meters enable characterization of leaks with pressure drops as low as 0.07 PSID.
  • Easy process automation: instruments can be controlled from a single computer/PLC using an array of communication protocols for easy automation and data analysis.

Natural gas and methane monitoring

The oil and gas industry requires emission measurement solutions that are fast, easy, and accurate. Green House Gas (GHG) monitoring regulations are moving from estimations to real time flow measurement to capture both total volumes and flow rates of gases/vapors (like methane) released to atmosphere.

Alicat makes flow measurement instruments that are designed specifically to measure methane emissions from surface casing and pneumatic vent flows, compressor seal leaks, storage tanks releases, and glycol dehydrators emissions. These highly accurate meters make field audits easy and fast. Data logging options are available.

Gas storage sphere tanks in oil and gas refinery industrial plant
Wastewater Treatment

Water Treatment

Capture and process of drinkable, industrial and municipal water resources, all require accurate flow control for metering, dosing and mass flow of air and other gases.

Alicat devices are integrated into: primary clarifier odor & corrosion control systems, ammonia gas / chlorine injection used in potable water treatment in the creation of chloramines and others.

Our differential pressure devices prevent costly replacement issues from backflow events with thermal devices.