Bronkhorst – The Low-Flow Specialists
Published on : Sunday 11-02-2024
The company’s product expertise includes gas and liquid flow measurement & control, pressure control and vapour delivery.
Bronkhorst India is a wholly owned daughter company of Bronkhorst High-Tech BV (The Netherlands). We offer local sales and after-sales support which includes calibration, repair, application engineering and user training programs with ‘state-of-the-art’ service facility. Product expertise includes gas and liquid flow measurement & control, pressure control and vapour delivery.
Bronkhorst is a truly worldwide organisation with subsidiary offices for sales and support in Great Britain, France, Northern Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, China, Taiwan (ROC), South Korea, India, Singapore (for APAC countries) and the USA. In addition, we have built up an extensive complementary network of distributors and service stations across Europe and the rest of the world, whereby local expertise and service is offered.
Bronkhorst offers solutions for different applications within the energy market. Some examples are humidification of fuel cells, battery manufacturing, odorization of biogas, but also a lot of applications within the hydrogen and semiconductor market.
Humidification of fuel cells
Inside the engine of your car, gasoline reacts directly with oxygen from the air to cause a combustion which enables your car to drive. This is the conventional way. Chemical energy is converted into useful mechanical energy. An alternative for this is combustion in an indirect way: a more clean and promising manner using a fuel cell. Oxygen and fuel, such as hydrogen, are fed to each side of the fuel cell, to electrochemically react inside the cell forming water.
As a result, electrons flow through an external circuit powering an electric motor. The chemical energy from the fuel is converted into electrical energy.
Fuel cells consist essentially of a stack of two electrodes with an electrolyte membrane in between. This electrolyte allows ionic species to conduct and generate power. In a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell – PEMFC – electrolytes need to be in a hydrated state to maintain a high ionic (proton) conductivity and, hence, optimal performance. Humidification of such a fuel cell is essential. This is a typical process used for automotive applications.
Liquid flow controllers in battery manufacturing
In the lithium-ion battery manufacturing process, mass flow controllers are used to batch-dose electrolyte in a long-life lithium-ion battery for the best lifetime and the highest capacity.
In the current energy transition from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources, lithium-ion batteries are popular with respect to energy storage. They charge and discharge, to supply power for electrical vehicles and mobile computer devices.
In lithium-ion batteries, the electrolyte is a medium that transports charge-carrying lithium ions between the electrodes of these devices, effectively enabling charging and discharging. One of our customers, a leading supplier of production machines for lithium-ion batteries, requested Bronkhorst to supply mass flow devices to accurately fill liquid electrolyte material into battery cells as part of the battery manufacturing process.
Odorization of biogas with flow instruments
For a customer in the renewable natural gas industry, Bronkhorst supplied flow instruments for adding odorant to Biomethane in a continuous and controlled way.
Biomass waste, such as agricultural, municipal or food waste, is fermented by using microorganisms. In this process biomass waste is converted into biogas, a blend of gases containing mainly methane gas and carbon dioxide. After a purification process removing carbon dioxide and impurities you get ‘biomethane’. Biomethane can be used as a substitution for natural gas, a renewable natural gas. Biomethane is suitable for domestic heating and cooking, but only when it is odorized.
Odorization of biomethane is mandatory when it comes to grid injection because it is odourless by nature. The goal is to make a gas leak detectable for human smell. After odorization the gas smells like rotten eggs. Overdosing means that the smell will be much too strong which leads to higher costs and even false alarms. Underdosing can lead to undetected danger and may even lead to human casualties. In most European countries a highly concentrated odorant like mercaptan or THT (tetrahydrothiophene) is used for odorization.
A consistent, continuous, or cyclic battery filling process needs to take place at a low working pressure or vacuum in a very dry environment to ensure homogeneous distribution of the electrolyte inside the pouch-shaped battery. Accurate control of the electrolyte quantity is a key requisite.
In the hydrogen market, there are many applications in which Bronkhorst instruments can be of high value. Examples of applications where you can find Bronkhorst flow meters and controllers are for example: electrolyser membrane testing, hydrogen storage, testing of fuel cell stacks, etc.
Bronkhorst’s distributor Wagner Mess- und Regeltechnik helped with the research of storing Hydrogen in synthetic aromatic-based heat transfer oils that are normally used in bakery systems and other high temperature applications. Here the heat transfer oil acts as a liquid organic hydrogen carrier, LOHC. In this setup elevated temperature Coriolis flow meters combined with WADose HPLC pump play an important role.
Another application is leak testing of fuel cell stacks by using a flow controller & pressure meter combination for quality control. Part of the incoming quality process of our customer is to check the quality of the fuel cell. A value for an optimum flow resistance window needs to be defined, and by applying a gas flow and measuring a pressure increase or drop, the flow resistance can be quantified. A too low flow resistance is a measure for a leak, and a too high flow resistance for a partly blocked fuel cell. These tests need to be performed at the hydrogen as well as the oxygen side of the fuel cell.
For more information on Bronkhorst products and solutions, please email or call: [email protected] / +91 8956 79 4004
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