Honey, I shrunk the hydrogen pump

Linde’s Cryo Pump 90 is highly efficient while consuming minimal space. The technology now supports California’s push for emission-free mobility.

Ahotspot for alternative fuel vehicles, California follows an ambitious plan to have five million zero-emission vehicles on its roads by 2030. And Linde actively supports the move.

To ready the Golden State for growing hydrogen demand, Linde is outfitting several retail hydrogen fuelling stations with its highly efficient Cryo Pump 90. This will significantly increase the capacity of California’s hydrogen refuelling network. Operated by Linde’s partner True Zero, the stations are dedicated to serving light-duty fuel cell electric vehicles.

The Cryo Pump 90 will be a key component to these stations. It provides several benefits over earlier generations of hydrogen pumps, namely increased scale at lower operating cost. The pump and corresponding storage systems also require a minimum of space for their operation.

“Together with True Zero, we managed to install a liquid hydrogen pump and storage system that is smaller than ever before”, says Wilfried Reese. An engineer by training and a member of Linde’s hydrogen research and development unit, Reese joined Linde in 1987. After working on various cryogenic devices, he joined the team that developed Linde’s high-pressure hydrogen pump in 2008, laying the groundwork for today’s Cryo Pump technology. “In 2008, we were asked to increase the pressure in our pumps to 900 bar”, Reese recalls. And so they did, allowing Linde to build the smallest hydrogen refuelling stations relative to their output.

How Linde’s cryo pump system works

Efficient, small and safe: a breakthrough

The size of hydrogen refuelling technology is in no small part governed by safety regulations. In the US, the requirements imposed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are particularly stringent. “Yet the NFPA allows manufacturers to reduce security spacings if other safety features are added. To reduce the pump’s spatial footprint, we added a monitoring system with hydrogen sensors that closes all outlets if a hydrogen leak occurs. The Cryo Pump 90 also reduces all electric current to zero in case of leakage. These and other measures are a breakthrough for the deployment of our technology in the US”, says Reese.

“Our hydrogen fuelling solutions are highly efficient, meet the highest safety standards and deliver the lowest total cost of ownerships per kilogram of hydrogen,” says Werner Ponikwar, Head of Hydrogen Mobility Solutions at Linde.

True Zero CEO Joel Ewanick welcomes the Linde technology as a “major leap forward” in promoting hydrogen mobility. “With this significant increase of refuelling station capacity, we’re beginning to see a very positive business case for retailing hydrogen fuel.” The new stations are also designed to refuel cars simultaneously to reduce wait times.”

Realising the future

In fact, the hydrogen refuelled at stations in Germany is nothing in terms of quantity compared to what is fuelled in the US. German filling stations move some 600 kilograms of hydrogen per month, according to Reese. “The stations now envisioned in California are designed for 400 kilograms per day.”

True Zero and Linde are strong partners in hydrogen mobility: with more than 150 hydrogen refuelling stations engineered worldwide and more than 25 years of research and development in hydrogen mobility technology, the Linde Group is a leading industrial gas, engineering and equipment supplier in the field. True Zero currently operates 19 fully retail hydrogen stations throughout the state of California and is developing 12 more, including the hydrogen stations now equipped with the latest Linde technology.


This project receives public funding (BMVI / 03BV247).