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Torishima and Japan’s Kyoto University make hydrogen pump breakthrough

Torishima Pump Mfg Co Ltd and Program-specific Professor Taketsune Nakamura from the Graduate School of Engineering at Kyoto University have jointly developed the world’s first high-flow, high-efficiency liquid hydrogen pump.

The Japanese pump company says that this innovation, powered by a superconducting motor, marks a crucial advance towards a sustainable hydrogen economy.

Torishima embarked on this groundbreaking project alongside Kyoto University in 2021. The project gained momentum in 2023 with support from a NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) grant for the "Development of Technologies for Building Competitive Hydrogen Supply Chain".

Building on Torishima’s expertise in developing high-temperature, high-pressure multistage pumps, the team achieved a breakthrough with a pump that operates at a high-speed rotation of 5,000 min-1, essential for pressurizing and transporting low-density liquid hydrogen.

By employing a superconducting motor, developed under the guidance of Professor Nakamura, the pumpset drastically reduces heat generation. The superconducting motor operates at very high efficiency without heat generation. This innovative approach prevents the gasification of liquid hydrogen, ensuring efficient transport.

The project represents a milestone in technological collaboration, combining Torishima’s deep knowledge in pump technology with Kyoto University’s pioneering research in superconducting motors, to create a pump that can efficiently transfer large volumes of liquid hydrogen.

Operational tests conducted on 6th and 7th March at Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Noshiro Rocket Testing Center in Akita Prefecture confirmed the pump’s performance, achieving a flow rate of 30.5 m3/hr, pressure of 1.6 MPa, and speed of 5,000 min-1.