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Hydrogen analytics


Hydrogen analytics

Hydrogen impurities

VTT has a long history of working with hydrogen analytics from industrial scale quality assurance issues to trace level impurity monitoring for fuel cell applications. One example of hydrogen impurity research and development project is EU funded HyCoRA- project (, in which VTT has studied hydrogen impurity effects on fuel cell performance. In the fuel cell related topics, VTT has developed analytical systems and methods in order to analyze hydrogen impurities, such as carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), formaldehyde (CH2O), formic acid (HCOOH) and light hydrocarbons. VTT has capabilities to identify qualitatively compounds with mass spectrometry and quantitatively with gas chromatographic methods.

Trace level impurity analysis

An example of trace level impurity analysis could be the CO2 content of hydrogen gas stream. With ppm to ppb level impurities, VTT used gas chromatograph equipped with flame ionization detector (FID), catalytic methanizer reactor (CO2 conversion to CH4) and a cryofocusing module. With this set-up, it was possible to analyse CO2 in ppb level when the cryofocusing module was used to pre-concentrate sample before analysis (example chromatogram below).

Example chromatogram from injecting 3 cycles of CO and CO2 through cryofocusing module. CO2 is concentrated into a single peak, whereas CO is not concentrated because of its low condensation temperature.

In addition to CO2 analysis, VTT has capabilities to analyse numerous different components from wide variety of matrices. VTT has the knowhow and modern equipment for analyzing hydrogen impurities.