Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Hydrogen Purification (ST8426-1)

Praxair, Inc.,


Motorized vehicles account for more than 30% of the air pollution in the United States. For example, sulfur in gasoline or diesel fuel creates two problems. First, when sulfur is burned in an internal combustion engine, it is released as a gaseous pollutant that contributes to poor air quality. Second, sulfur acts as a poison to the catalyst used in a vehicle’s catalytic converter, reducing the converter’s effectiveness in removing other air pollutants. The decreasing fossil fuel supply and the growing number of densely populated metropolitan cities with poor local air quality have spurred an initiative to develop an alternative fuel. Hydrogen has emerged as one of the most promising candidates as a pollution free fuel.

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Project Description

Specific performance goals of this project include: 1. Develop an efficient PSA process indicated by a high recovery (>75%), low bed size factor (<6000 lb/tpd), and hydrogen purity of 99.99% or higher. Recovery is defined as the ratio of hydrogen product gas to hydrogen feed gas. Bed size factor is defined as the amount of adsorbent required to produce the hydrogen product. 2. Develop a low-cost PSA process that minimizes the number of switching valves and other system components. 3. Develop a low pressure PSA process (<150 psig). Typically hydrogen PSA processes operate at pressures of >200 psig with some operating as high as 1000 psig. 4. Design a compact single skid unit that is easy to ship and install. 5. Design a reliable unit that is easy to operate and maintain.


The PSA developed here will show the potential to significantly reduce the capital cost required for a small hydrogen system and thereby greatly reduce the overall cost to produce hydrogen. In addition, the use of purified hydrogen as a vehicular fuel will reduce pollutants and NOX emissions and reduce the amount of oil needed to serve New York State energy needs. Finally, and most importantly, this effort will create jobs and further development in New York State.

Project Results

Praxair terminated this project when the company decided not to pursue this technology as a product offering. While the project was reaching most of the performance milestones that Praxair had initially established for the project, the company closed down the project once the business decision was made not to enter the automotive hydrogen marketplace.


Praxair, Inc.,
4501 Royal Avenue
Niagara Falls, NY 14303

Principle Investigator

Michael Manning

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Research Study

Technologies Types:

Industrial Products

NYSERDA Contact Information

John Love


R&D - Energy Mkts & Pwr Del

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST8426-1

Last Updated: 12/23/2010