Messer France Mitry Mory

Howden BC Compressors contribute to extend compressors life in sites. 200 bar to 300 bar hybrid compressor retrofit for helium capacity filling

Messer gases are compressed for transport in retail selling bottles. Compressor retrofitting adjust the pressure delivery to higher pressure of 300 bar.

Printable PDF/brochure
300 bar gas bottles Messer

The challenge

Messer produces and delivers high value gases to industrial, Chemical, oil and gas industries. Compressors are custom designed for the duty initially specified by the client. Actual duty needed in sites may vary during the compressor lifetime.

Helium is compressed by a hybrid compressor technology mixing reciprocating piston head for the first 3 stages, and a diaphragm head for the 4th stage. The compressor designed and constructed in 1986, elevate Helium gas pressure from 1,1 bar to 200 bar. Helium gas temperature dramatically increases during compression. Multiple stage construction allows the gas cooling between each compression heads.

Messer developed bottles that can be filled at 300 bar instead of 200 bar. This permits to store and transport 33% more gas without modification of bottles size. It is a non negligible source of savings. Howden as OEM conduct the feasibility study and propose a retrofit operation plan. Solution can bring an answer to customer objectives being a short term solution in place at competitive costs, keeping the filling station available as much as possible. Solution should not require major modification in site to limit procurement and integration costs.


Our solution

Messer can purchase a new compressor or consider a retrofit solution. Retrofit is a short term, and cost effective solution. Nevertheless it is conditioned by feasibility aspect in particular for a multiple stage compressor technology.

Howden pass compressor through a recalculation targeting the running with the new operating conditions. Outputs of the study show that the new discharge pressure can be obtained with the modification of the final compression head and related pressure vessels.

The total increase of pressure ratio between compressor suction and discharge is split on the 4 compression stages. Change on the 3 first stages has very limited impact and is all compatible with piston stages initial design. Therefore the 3 first stages of compression can remain unchanged.

Change is at 4th stage diaphragm head to reach the new pressure. The design pressure of equipments downstream of the compressor is changed to 350 bar. The after cooler mechanical and thermal design is revised to consider not only the higher pressure but also gas temperature elevation due to higher compressor pressure ratio.

New safety valve and back pressure valve are installed at the compressor final stage for the new pressure delivery.

The absorbed power is increased from 66 to 81 KW, and a technical check confirms that installed driver is capable to stand this higher power consumption. A new oil cooler will be installed since higher absorbed power need higher heat dissipation capabilities.

Hydraulic circuit components are adjusted to the higher pressure. A visual control system is implemented allowing the survey of oil return into the crankcase.

EC machine directive check result on the installation of warning panels near hot points. Project total amount is approximately 80k€ including service on site. This amount corresponds to one third of the acquisition and integration costs of new compressor.


Solution deployment

Compressor dismantling and shipping operations are not necessary for this case. Experienced Howden field service engineers are skilled and equipped to do the work directly in the industrial site.

Parts are manufactured prior to the site operations. Manufacturing of the high pressure head, gas circuit and hydraulic circuit are launched 5 months prior the modification. Compression station keeps running in site. Compressor head and piping reconstruction including the start up will require 8 days to Howden site service engineers. Tools and maintenance instruction for the new installation are delivered to site maintenance team.

The benefits

Equipment compresses nearly the same volume of gas at inlet, and delivers 300 bar instead of 200.The review and adaptation of the mechanical and package elements is validated by Howden and preserve the technical support of the constructor.

Project has a very low impact in term of integration, keeping a big portion of the compressor package with a design being familiar to site operator for operation and maintenance, and with the same footprint. The retrofit can keep running this installation having a good performance over the last 25 years.

Compressor remains available in the site, and interruption is limited to 8 days necessary for the modification.

5 months for getting the 300 bar pressure is less than half of the time necessary for getting new operational equipment. The sooner the compressor is modified the sooner high pressure bottle can be marketed.

Compressor keeps the same footprint, and no civil works has to be done. Keeping the same room surface doesn’t impact the site structure limiting integration costs.

Hybrid compression solution

Hybrid compressor solutions elevate gases at atmospheric pressure up to 450 bars, and volumes up to 700 m3/hr. The multistage solutions (Up to 4) allow step by step compression with inter-stage gas cooling before each recompression. It boosts dry gases such as H2, N2, Air to high pressure and ideally Helium gas with its inter-stage cooling solution.

The outcome

  • Customer can market his high pressure bottles solution rapidly.
  • Quantity of gas that can be filled in cylinders by the compressor has been increased of 33%.
  • Customer CAPEX are limited allowing fast ROI.
  • Safe and reliable solution is backed by constructor expertise and site support.

Full Case Study

Please complete the fields below to get your copy.

Email Address
First Name
Last Name

Full List of Case Study pages

The introduction of Howden's VN seal system to the air preheaters brought an immediate drop in leakage level from 26% to 5%.

Howden completed a retrofit of VARIAX ID fans on the 640MW unit 5 at Asn?s Power Station, Denmark.

The Howden Free Floating Piston is a proven unique technolgy that turns the weakest point to one of the strongest, which removes rider bands wear at a stroke

Berre Petrochemical Cluster, which includes polypropylene and polyethylene plants, trusted Howden to reduce its power costs by 7% within a 3 year return on investment.

VentSim? CONTROL technologies result in impressive cost and energy savings while also raising productivity at Goldcorp Eleonore gold mine.

Fresnillo mine is one of the most technologically advanced deep mines in the world, and incorporates VentSim? CONTROL ventilation management.

UPTIME provides advanced compressor performance analysis at Gunvor Petroleum in the Netherlands

Howden worked with a North American hard rock mine to introduce a Ventilation on Demand system using VentSim? CONTROL technology.

Installing a bigger hub at Herningv?rket, reducing installation costs and future service expenses.

The understanding and knowledge provided by Howden is an essential factor when installing additional equipment on your compressors.

New integrally geared compressor (IGC) results in power savings up to 31MW/h a day

Replacement of primary plate heaters with Howden custom designed rotary air preheaters.

200 bar to 300 bar hybrid compressor retrofit for helium capacity filling

At Millmerran Power Station, Howden provides a tailored service that supports their needs of the plant to prepare for their upcoming major outage.

New boiler and FGD processes called for a total change of the ID booster fan at a power plant in Plzen

Howden develop method to drastically reduce the cylinder repair time of reciprocating compressors.

Upgrade your reciprocating compressor with our innovative coated liner solution.

The introduction of Howden's HC element to the air preheater resulted in extended operational times.

Huge savings were realised by using Howden's turnkey service to reduce heater leakage and running costs.

A large chemical plant on the east coast of the United States contacted Howden to perform a full Turnkey project on their critical path air preheaters.

Howden expertise solves long lasting problems with an axial fan at Uniper's Franken plant.

During the first few months after the deployment of Uptime, VEAS experienced two distinct challenges where the benefits of Uptime were clearly demonstrated.

VentSim? CONTROL case study for three typical mining projects.

Replacement of existing blades at the Wangqu Thermal Power Station

Building the world?s biggest reciprocating compressor - a white paper and video.

Efficient engineering solves impeller failures at the Wibank coalfield.

Centrifugal Fan

At Tarmac (Dunbar cement plant, UK), their existing Raw Mill fan was replaced with an enhanced Howden design in 2007.

If you would like to submit an enquiry please get in touch.

Your local Howden contact

The below contact(s) are the representatives for your country. You can change country below.