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Important for future hydrogen infrastructure

Published: 19 September 2022

The aim of this project is to understand hydrogen embrittlement in rolling element bearings. This is crucial for reliable hydrogen pumping and compression systems, which are key for future hydrogen infrastructure. Luleå University of Technology is therefore running a research project on the issue in collaboration with SKF.

“Hydrogen has the potential to reshape today’s industry toward sustainable production. In order to use this potential, reliable hydrogen pumping and compression systems are necessary. Rolling element bearings are a key component within those systems, and their optimization in hydrogen-enriched environments is an important step towards the realization of hydrogen-driven industry.”, Jens Hardell says, Professor in Machine Elements at Luleå University of Technology.

Can cause embrittlement

Hydrogen is known to cause embrittlement and premature failure in metals with low ductility. Rolling element bearings are no exception to that. On the contrary, due to the harsh operating conditions and high contact pressures that rolling elements bearings are exposed to, they can be amongst the first components to fail in a hydrogen compressor. In order to achieve reliable hydrogen infrastructure, the performance of rolling element bearings in hydrogen environments needs to be understood and optimized.

The aim of this project is to understand the influence of hydrogen environments on the tribological behaviour of rolling element bearings. Special emphasis is put on quantitative hydrogen analysis, as quantitative data is necessary to define future guidelines for bearing operation in hydrogen compressors.

How does the project contribute to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals?

In order to reach the UN goal regarding climate action, fossil fuels as energy carriers in today’s industry need to be substituted. This can be realized with hydrogen as a green energy carrier. The project contributes to reliable hydrogen infrastructure, which is a prerequisite for a hydrogen-driven industry.

Jens Hardell

Jens Hardell, Professor, Head of Division

Phone: +46 (0)920 491774
Organisation: Machine Elements, Machine Elements, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics
Lisa-Marie Weniger

Lisa-Marie Weniger, PhD Student

Phone: +46 (0)920 493672
Organisation: Machine Elements, Machine Elements, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics