Reliable Bearing Technology for the Hydrogen Transition

The need to transition to cleaner, carbon-neutral energy sources is a growing concern. After decades of conversation around hydrogen as a fuel, governments, stakeholders, and everyday people are driving the conversation into action. Companies will need innovative partners to help optimize equipment for efficiency and profitability to scale up the hydrogen economy.

Waukesha Bearings has a history of partnering with OEMs and end users to solve their toughest engineering and operational challenges. Our experience, coupled with state-of-the-art research and development capabilities, positions us to support our customers through the hydrogen transition with proven, reliable bearing solutions that are designed to last.

Hydrogen storage tanks
Waukesha Bearing Thrust Bearing

High-Performing Bearings for Extreme Operating Conditions

Centrifugal compressors for hydrogen service operate at high rotating speeds and require flexible rotors to accommodate the multiple stages needed to successfully compress the lightweight gas. Waukesha Bearings expertly engineers reliable fluid film bearings that optimize equipment by providing high damping to control vibrations and prevent damage to the rotor and other components. In addition, the bearings deliver accurate and adjustable dynamic performance while operating at high peripheral speeds (120 m/s to 160 m/s). Waukesha Bearings is at the forefront of developing technology for hydrogen compressors, supporting leading OEMs’ pilot and industrial projects.

Turbo-expanders are highly engineered machines that operate under broad speed, loads and gas conditions. In turbo-expander applications, magnetic bearings are immersed in the process gas, which eliminates the need for seals and reduces the impeller overhang. Turbo-expanders for hydrogen liquefaction processes require magnetic bearings that are compatible with the environmental temperatures that can range from ambient to cryogenic conditions. The hydrogen embrittlement phenomena of metals exposed to hydrogen and subject to high stress levels make the selection of the magnetic bearing materials and design features even more critical to machine operation and reliability.

Waukesha Magnetic Bearings has more than 20 years of experience in turbo-expanders operating under high hydrogen concentration (>90%) and has delivered magnetic bearings systems for pure hydrogen liquefaction process.

If you have an upcoming hydrogen project, talk to one of our design experts to discuss your requirements.

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Innovation and Development

Waukesha Bearings is committed to the ongoing development of fluid film and magnetic bearing technologies. With a brand-new Innovation Lab featuring in-house hydrogen and dynamic testing capabilities in Houston and advanced magnetic bearing test rigs in Worthing, England, we have unparalleled capabilities to test and validate new products and processes under real-life conditions; provide field analysis and upgrade solutions; and develop next-generation technologies.

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Innovative Technologies to Help Power the Future

When you think about a sustainable future, do you see challenges or opportunities? Waukesha Bearings and the Dover Precision Components Innovation Lab are developing new technologies that enable equipment to operate beyond known application limits and overcome the challenges of transitioning to hydrogen energy.

We are continually working with OEMs and aftermarket partners to design new equipment and reliable technologies for hydrogen applications.

Waukesha Bearings ISFD Bearing

ISFD® Advanced Technology

ISFD (Integral Squeeze Film Damper) provides highly engineered damping and stiffness to allow exact placement of critical speeds and increases the dynamic stability of rotor/bearing systems.

  • Enables the highest pressure-ration centrifugal compressor
  • Enhances rotor-dynamic performance
  • Provides high reliability

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Tilt Pad Journal Bearings

Dynamic conditions of high-speed centrifugal compressors often necessitate the use of tilting pad journal bearing technologies. Design features such as the Integral Squeeze Film Damper (ISFD®) and  ‘Directed Lubrication’ offer key benefits to optimize dynamic characteristics and reduce power losses at peripheral speeds above 120 m/s found in hydrogen compressors.

Active magnetic radial bearing

Magnetic Bearings

Waukesha Magnetic Bearings leads the industry in custom-engineered magnetic bearing systems for high-performing rotating equipment. Magnetic bearings can be immersed in the hydrogen process gas. This makes them an attractive choice of hermetically sealed high-speed centrifugal compressors for hydrogen pipelines or boil-off services. They can also be combined with fluid-film bearings to maximize the benefits of each solution on very flexible and high-speed rotors. 

With built-in monitoring and diagnostic capabilities, Waukesha magnetic bearing systems also allow remote monitoring and adjustments.


Brush Seals

Waukesha Bearings brush seals can minimize leakage gaps and increase operational efficiencies. The compliancy of a brush seal allows sealing clearances to be significantly reduced, while its low profile allows simple integration with labyrinth seals.

Petrochemical Facility

Hydrogen in Utilities and Power Generation

The power generation industry faces significant change as the world turns its attention to clean energy sources. Hydrogen is poised to become a vital element of the energy transition thanks to its ability to store and transport energy across long distances and at scale.

Waukesha Bearings products are used successfully in some of the most advanced gas turbines found in utilities and distributed power generation. Our products are compatible with turbines that operate with hydrogen blends up to 100% and with frequent starts and stops as required by grids with high renewable penetration.

We can support companies that combine hydrogen with renewable sources, such as wind, and pursue hydrogen as energy storage and transportation at scale.

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Emerging Hydrogen Processes

Hydrogen for Fuel

Hydrogen liquefaction for transportation over long distances and the mobility sector is scaling up to support the adoption of hydrogen in trucks and ships. The liquefaction process requires reduction of the hydrogen temperature to -253°C. The cooling process requires cryogenic turbo-expanders and boil-off compressors during transportation. Waukesha Bearings is supporting the industry development with hydrogen-compatible magnetic bearings and seals.

Blue Hydrogen and CO2 Capture (CCUS)

Blue Hydrogen obtained with Methane reforming process and involving CO2 capture and sequestration is at the forefront of the hydrogen transition, abating the CO2 emissions to the atmosphere during the hydrogen process. Blue hydrogen require centrifugal compressprs for CO2 transportation and storage, in addition to the hydrogen compressors.

Waukesha Bearings is able to offer conventional and advanced seals and bearing design, including magnetic bearings, that can cope with the high density and instability phenomena generated in CO2 rotating machinery.

Submit An Inquiry

Waukehsa Bearings is uniquely positioned to support our customers through the hydrogen transition with proven, reliable bearing solutions that are designed to last.

Complete the short form below to contact our hydrogen industry expert