Project Announcement: Simulation and testing of cryogenic ortho-para conversion in hydrogen liquefaction processes

September 30, 2022

Hydrogen liquefaction is a highly energy intensive process. Therefore, efficient hydrogen liquefaction processes are a priority for establishing future energy markets. When compared with established energy commodities, such as LNG, there are significant gaps in knowledge related to the properties of hydrogen relevant to the liquefaction process, which in turn introduces relatively large uncertainty in engineering design and development. In particular, the phenomenon of hydrogen ortho-para (OP) conversion and the lack of experimental literature data for OP conversion limit the ability and performance of simulation strategies since they cannot be validated. The limitations of available data extend to the catalyst materials used to accelerate the OP conversion process, with minimal data on conversion kinetics and incomplete understanding of how the catalyst process can be accurately modelled.  

This project will directly address the challenge of accounting for OP conversion in the simulation and design of catalyst lined plate-fin heat exchangers, which are central to hydrogen liquefaction, through the following outcomes:  

– A standalone software tool to model OP conversion;  

– A simulation block for Aspen HYSYS to accurately incorporate the effect of OP conversion;  

– An experimental capability to measure OP conversion kinetics for commercial catalysts.  

All three objectives will be validated against and compared to available data, models of OP conversion, and a base case industrial hydrogen liquefaction simulation. 

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