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Trelleborg expands hydrogen testing capabilities

June 17, 2024
Sealing solutions company opens 1,000-sq.-ft. lab in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to help customers navigate the challenges of hydrogen storage and transport

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions recently opened a 1,000-sq.-ft. hydrogen testing lab in Fort Wayne, Indiana, providing space for the company to expand its existing and future hydrogen testing capabilities.

The development is part of Trelleborg’s plans to lead the way for hydrogen sealing and testing, and help customers navigate the challenges of the entire hydrogen value chain, from generation, storage and transportation to end use and future hydrogen applications.

“There are limited polymer options that can be confidently recommended to seal hydrogen,” James Simpson, Trelleborg global segment director of energy, said in a news release. “There is also a lack of defined industry standards specifying how materials should be properly tested and verified to work effectively with hydrogen.

“Trelleborg is investing in its own approved hydrogen test rigs. Our experts design proprietary test programs to prove the performance of materials and provide customer confidence. We can help customers create custom solutions to meet application requirements and will develop our future capabilities to suit where the industry goes.

“We want to listen to customers and follow their lead.”

Testing capabilities offered at the facility include hydrogen leak detection, compatibility, dynamic testing, and permeation testing, all of which are critical criteria for sealing hydrogen. Engineering experts can perform tests that replicate aggressive application conditions for rapid gas decompression, where hydrogen in a high-pressure system can be absorbed into a seal and if the pressure is suddenly relieved, gas trapped in the seal can expand, potentially causing the seal to blister and crack as the gas tries to escape. There are testing capabilities for pressures up to 15,000 PSI/1,034 bar, and across all temperature ranges, from cryogenic to above 350 degrees Fahrenheit/180 degrees Celsius, and environmental thermal cycle testing at various pressure profiles.  

“Future investments in hydrogen will be significant, as hydrogen is potentially transformative in the battle to reduce emissions,” said John Mclaughlin, Trelleborg director of research and development services. “The market needs for hydrogen sealing components range from standard products to highly engineered solutions where few in the industry have extensive experience. We have materials and solutions that not only meet today’s accepted criteria but are ready to scale up in future industrialized processes.

“We also are not dependent on external labs that are increasingly busy.”

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