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What is it?

A compressor in which hydrogen is supplied at the anode and then driven through a polymer exchange membrane to the cathode via the application of an electric current, where it is collected in a compressed form on the other side.

Why is it important?

Electrochemical compression has the potential to displace mechanical compression by operating at higher efficiencies (70-80 per cent), with a smaller footprint and the benefit of no moving parts. This can result in lower maintenance costs, reduce stack costs, and noiseless operation.


  • Gravimetric hydrogen density: N/A
  • Storage conditions: High pressure (up to 1000 bar)
  • Compression efficiency: 70-80%


  • Hydrogen product easily extracted
  • Solid state membrane
  • No moving parts – lower maintenance costs and noiseless operation
  • Higher efficiencies than traditional mechanical compression
  • Output compressed hydrogen pressures of approximately 1000 bar have so far been reached with this technology.
  • Can operate from very low pressure


  • High capital cost
  • Lifetime and sensitivity to impurities such as reactive gas species
  • Reverse permeability leads to movement of hydrogen gas back into non-pressurised side of system

RD&D priorities

  • Improve compressor reliability
  • Fabricate new membranes
  • Reduce electro-osmotic drag (EOD)
  • Maintain stack seals at higher operating pressures
  • Reduce stack costs

Known active organisations


Other opportunities like this

  • Ionic compressors make use of ionic liquids instead of a piston to compress hydrogen gas.

  • Hydrogen is absorbed at low pressure into the metal hydride material, and subsequently released as a high-pressure gas via the application of heat.

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