Inside Chart Industries’ hydrogen business

When Bob Oesterreich first started selling hydrogen around 20 years ago, it was mainly to industrial users like heat treaters or powder metal producers. He couldn’t have imagined that two decades later, the hydrogen industry would be as “high-tech” and “innovative” as it is today.

Oesterreich is Vice-President of Global Hydrogen Sales at Chart Industries, a US cryogenic equipment manufacturer which has been producing, engineering and designing hydrogen-related equipment for more than 50 years.

“The activity in hydrogen over the last year, it’s just been amazing, and there’s still much more development and innovation to be done,” Oesterreich enthused to H2 View. “Historically, most of our business was around industrial applications, but now we’re involved in technologies and applications right across the hydrogen value chain.”

Chart has been a leader in the clean energy transition from diesel to natural gas for transportation and power generation, making large investments in developing advanced technology and products that drive the transition. Having played a key role in developing early technologies in natural gas liquefaction, Chart believes it is well positioned to do the same for the hydrogen market.

The company currently provides process technology as well as equipment solutions for the liquefaction and compression of hydrogen, including process systems, heat exchangers, larger cryogenic storage, vacuum insulated pipe and loadout systems. Whether by transport, trailer, ISO container, rail car or marine transport, Chart is designing and manufacturing cryogenic distribution systems that apply to an extensive set of hydrogen applications.

Today, Chart has produced more than 800 hydrogen bulk storage tanks and been able to offer its customers over 150,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen storage capacity in a single vessel. The company prides itself on constant innovation in the hydrogen market and as it moves forward, is developing hydrogen fuelling stations, new technology around liquid hydrogen vehicle tanks, systems and solutions for liquefaction, compression and much more.

“We’ve been making liquid hydrogen tanks and liquefaction processes for both helium and liquid hydrogen for over 50 years. That experience sets up significant growth in the hydrogen market for us,” Oesterreich said. “We pride ourselves on our ability to manufacture storage tanks, trailers and the things to support the virtual pipeline and to be able to then vertically integrate up to the point of production.”

He continued, “Regardless of the molecule, Chart has been the equipment supplier for storage, transport and end use. Now, as you saw with the Cryogenic Gas Technologies (Cryo Technologies) acquisition, we’re seeing interest in our capabilities to liquefy those molecules for the producer.”

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