03 February 2021

LDetek selected for trace impurity measurements at the world’s largest PEM plant for hydrogen production

LDetek’s HyDetek system has been selected to provide trace impurity measurements in hydrogen produced at the world’s largest proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer, which is located at Bécancour, Quebec, Canada.

Air Liquide is investing in its existing hydrogen plant to install the 20 MW PEM electrolyzer which will produce around 3,000 tons of hydrogen each year. It will play a crucial role in supplying North America with low-carbon hydrogen needed for industry and transportation.

The HyDetek system is used to detect traces of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide in the hydrogen produced at the plant. It uses LDetek’s patented plasma emission detector configured with the right selective optical filters for measuring ppb/ppm O2-N2-CO2 (which are the main contaminants to be controlled and measured for the hydrogen produced by water electrolysis). The gas chromatograph uses Argon as carrier gas which reduces the operation costs by a factor of 4-5 times, compared to instruments that use helium.

The PEM electrolyzer was installed during Autumn 2020, with particular safety precautions in place due to the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic situation.

Reduced carbon output

Air Liquide estimates that the new PEM electrolyzer will reduce carbon emissions by nearly 27,000 tons a year compared to a similar hydrogen output generated by steam methane reforming. This is equivalent to the annual emissions from 10,000 cars.

Read further technical information for the HyDetek.