ANRI Instruments & Controls has released the model K1650 alternator purge gas monitor.
All power stations, whatever their fuel, use hydrogen to cool the generators and make them rotate more easily.
Hydrogen is used because it has the highest thermal conductivity of all gases and also a very low viscosity or drag effect.
Hydrogen's cooling efficiency and viscosity are changed significantly by comparatively small amounts of air; hence the need to monitor its purity.
Regular, or preferably continuous, monitoring also enables the usage of expensive hydrogen to be optimised rather than adding an excess 'just to be sure'.
Hydrogen is highly flammable and introducing it into an air-filled generator would form dangerous mixtures of the two gases.
To overcome this problem a non-reactive gas, typically carbon dioxide, is used to purge the air from the generator prior to the addition of hydrogen.
Similarly, when the generator is serviced, carbon dioxide is used to purge out the hydrogen before refilling with air.
The model K1650 is for fixed installations and uses Hitech's Katharometer technology. Portable models are also available.