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The research capabilities at HyTEC range from a wide variety of experimental and modeling areas associated with hydrogen. We have partnered with world-leading industries and organizations to advance the science and develop new technologies necessary to improve efficiency, reduce cost, and improve the safety of hydrogen production, liquefaction, storage and transportation. The followings are some selected projects and research capabilities at HyTEC:

Compact Plasma Fuel Reformer for Hydrogen Generation

Hydrogen enrichment in internal combustion engines and turbines can improve combustion, increasing efficiency and decreasing emissions.  We have developed plasmatron devices for the conversion of hydrocarbons into hydrogen and CO. The technology has been demonstrated with Arvin Meritor, an automotive supplier.

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Collins Cryocooler Prototype for Space Applications

This project develops a high-efficiency and lightweight single-stage cryocooler providing 100 W of cooling at 90 K. With multi-staging, cooling to 4 K is possible with this architecture.  The technology can be used for propellant liquefaction, cooling electronics, etc. It also has applications in liquefaction and zero-boil-off storage of methane, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and helium for the energy industry.

Hydrogen cryocooler, Hydrogen liquefyer

Acoustic Cryogenic Expander Prototype

This project aims to develop an advanced prototype that utilizes sound waves to produce refrigeration at extremely low temperatures. By harnessing the principles of thermo-acoustics, this prototype has the potential to revolutionize the field of cryogenics, leading to more efficient and environmentally friendly cooling solutions


Engine-based Reformers for Ammonia and Methanol Production

Substantial methane emissions are generated by a large number of small local sources; we have developed internal combustion engines for conversion of methane into synthesis gas to make chemicals, such as methanol or ammonia.  Because engines are low cost due to mass production, the approach is economically attractive at small scale.  The technology is being commercialized by Emvolon, an MIT spinoff.

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Zero Boil-off Liquid Hydrogen Storage

This project seeks to significantly improve safety, reduce cost and energy consumption associated with liquid hydrogen transportation and storage by minimizing the amount of boil-off. It utilizes an integrated Collin's type cryogenic expander to cool down and re-liquefy hydrogen boil-off. This technology can be used on any stationary or portable storage tanks including ships, trucks, and cars. It is also well-suited for remote and unmanned operations.


Thermophysical Property Measurements of Cryogenic Fluids and Mixtures

Sound design and operation of energy systems depend on accurate thermophysical properties of fluids. This project aims to produce high-quality experimental data for hydrogen and its mixture with other fluids (e.g. helium) at temperatures down to 20 K and pressures to 5 MPa, using a novel 3-Omega technique for simultaneous  measurement of viscosity, density thermal conductivity and heat capacity.


Advanced Air Separation for Low-cost H2 Production via
Modular Gasification

This project aims to develop a novel cost-effective modular air separation system capable of delivering high oxygen purities. It utilizes Joule-Thomson expansion, selective phase separation, liquid oxygen rectification, and optimized heat recovery systems. It provides a simple method for purifying atmospheric oxygen on site for easy integration into a gasifier.

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Catalytic Ortho-Para Hydrogen Conversion

This project develops and tests novel catalysts at liquid hydrogen temperatures (20 K) to minimize or eliminate liquid hydrogen boil-off related to exothermic conversion of ortho to para hydrogen. This project helps improve CAPEX and OPEX cost of hydrogen liquefiers and enable safe management of risk for storage and transportation of liquid hydrogen.

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