Gas Boosters: Everything You Need to Know

Gas boosters play a crucial role in numerous industrial processes and scientific endeavors. These devices are essentially pumps specifically designed to increase the pressure of gases. By compressing gas, boosters enable various applications that rely on controlled and high-pressure gas environments. This article explores the different types of gas boosters, the components of gas booster systems, and their diverse applications across various sectors.

gas booster pump

What are Gas Boosters?

Gas boosters are devices used in various industrial processes and equipment to increase the pressure of gas. They work by compressing the gas, thereby increasing its delivery rate. Gas Boosters can be powered by an electric motor, hydraulics, low or high pressure air, or a lever system.

The pressure of the inlet gas in a gas booster typically ranges from 50 to 125 psig, but it can be higher or lower depending on the application. The booster’s motor speed and compressor size determine how much downstream flow is delivered. This means that boosters can be customized for the particular gas compression requirements of an industry.

Gas boosters are crucial for industries that depend on natural gas, as consistent gas pressure is essential for trouble-free operation and consistent quality. They are also used to boost the pressure of air in high-rise buildings. Even though natural gas is a renewable and affordable fuel, many industrial and commercial applications require higher pressures than the standard service. A natural gas boost system will improve the pressure level of gas in an area and reduce the need for gas cylinders.

What are the Types of Gas Boosters?

Gas boosters come in three primary configurations, each employing a distinct power source for compression:

  • Pneumatic-Driven Gas Boosters: These boosters rely on compressed air as the external power source. They utilize a piston or diaphragm design, where compressed air acts on one side of the piston/diaphragm, compressing the gas on the other side. Pneumatic boosters are known for their portability, ease of use, and lack of electrical components, making them suitable for hazardous environments. Additionally, they are relatively quiet compared to other types. However, their pressure output capabilities are typically lower compared to hydraulic or electric alternatives.
  • Hydraulically-Driven Gas Boosters: These boosters utilize hydraulic fluid as the external power source. A hydraulic pump pressurizes the fluid, which then acts on a piston or diaphragm to compress the gas. Hydraulic boosters offer significantly higher pressure outputs compared to pneumatic ones, making them suitable for applications requiring very high-pressure gases. They are also well-suited for continuous operation due to their robust design. However, hydraulic boosters tend to be larger and heavier than pneumatic models, and they may require additional equipment like heat exchangers to manage heat generation during operation.
  • Electrically-Driven Gas Boosters: These boosters use electric motors as the external power source. The motor drives a compressor mechanism, which compresses the gas. Electrically driven boosters offer several advantages, including the potential for precise control over pressure output and ease of integration with automation systems. They can also achieve high pressure outputs depending on the motor’s capacity. However, they are typically the most complex and expensive option among the three types.
gas booster system

Understanding Gas Booster Systems: What are the Key Components?

A gas booster system is more than just the booster itself. It’s a network of interconnected parts working together to safely and efficiently manage gas flow and pressure. Here’s a closer look at the essential components of a gas booster system:

  • Pumps:  These act as the initial pressure source for the booster. They elevate the gas pressure to a level that allows the booster to function effectively. Gas booster pumps can be driven by various power sources depending on the application. Compressed air, hydraulic fluid, or electric motors are commonly used to drive these pumps.
  • Valves:  These components act as checkpoints within the system, controlling the flow of gas. They perform various tasks like starting, stopping, and regulating the gas flow to and from the booster. Precise valve operation is crucial for ensuring the system functions properly and maintains safety standards.
  • Pressure Regulators:  These are responsible for maintaining a constant pressure output, even if the input pressure fluctuates. This is particularly important in applications where a specific and unwavering gas pressure is critical for the process. Pressure regulators achieve this by adjusting an internal valve based on the incoming pressure, ensuring a consistent output pressure.
  • Safety Relief Valves:  These valves prioritize safety by serving as a built-in pressure release mechanism. In case of system malfunctions or pressure surges, they automatically release excess pressure. This prevents potential damage to equipment and safeguards personnel from hazards associated with uncontrolled pressure buildup.

Choosing the Right System: Tailoring Components to Specific Needs

Selecting the most suitable gas booster system requires careful consideration of several factors:

  • Gas Type: The type of gas being used in the system can influence component selection. Different gases may have varying compatibility requirements with specific materials used in pumps, valves, and other components.
  • Desired Output Pressure: The target pressure you aim to achieve with the boosted gas is a crucial factor. The system’s components, especially the booster itself, need to be rated for the desired output pressure to ensure safe and efficient operation.
  • Required Flow Rate: The volume of gas that needs to be processed per unit time (flow rate) is another critical aspect. The system’s components, particularly the pump and booster, must be capable of handling the required flow rate to maintain efficient gas delivery.
  • Portability: Depending on the application, portability might be a significant factor. If the system needs to be moved frequently, its weight, size, and overall ease of transport become important considerations.
  • Operational Environment: The surrounding environment where the system will be used can influence component selection. Factors like temperature extremes, exposure to moisture or dust, or the presence of flammable materials might necessitate specific material choices or additional protective measures for the system’s components.
  • Desired Level of Automation: The level of automation needed for the system’s operation plays a role as well. If complete automation is desired, valves, pressure regulators, and even the booster itself might require integration with electronic controls and monitoring systems.
Hydrogen gas booster

Applications of Gas Boosters

Gas boosters, a workhorse in various industries, serve a vital purpose by increasing the pressure of gases. They come in various configurations, powered by electricity, hydraulics, compressed air, or even a simple lever system. Here’s a detailed breakdown of gas booster applications:

1. Pressure Amplification for Diverse Needs

  • Industrial Processes and Equipment:  Many industrial processes rely on a specific gas pressure for optimal function. Gas boosters ensure consistent and controllable pressure for tasks like injection molding, where high pressure forces molten plastic into intricate molds.
  • Pressure Testing:  Before equipment goes into operation, it’s crucial to ensure it can withstand certain pressures. Gas boosters provide the necessary pressure to conduct safe and reliable pressure testing on pipelines, vessels, and other equipment.
  • Leak Detection:  Even the smallest leak in a pressurized system can be problematic. Gas boosters are instrumental in pressure testing for leak detection, helping identify and rectify leaks before they cause significant issues.

2. Gas Transfer and Management

  • Bottle Transfer:  Gases are often stored and transported in high-pressure containers. Gas boosters facilitate the transfer of gas from one container to another, ensuring efficient movement and utilization of the gas.
  • Accumulator Filling:  Hydraulic accumulators store energy using compressed gas. Gas boosters play a key role in charging these accumulators to their required pressure levels.
  • Gas Mixing Systems:  For processes requiring specific gas mixtures, boosters can be used to precisely control the pressure of individual gases during the mixing process.

3. Specific Applications in Various Industries

  • Diving and Safety:  In the diving industry, gas boosters are used to transfer and pressurize breathing gases like oxygen, critical for divers’ safety. Similarly, emergency response teams utilize boosters to fill self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) used in hazardous environments.
  • Inert Gas Applications:  Certain industrial processes require inert gases like nitrogen to prevent oxidation or explosions.  Gas boosters are used to increase the pressure of nitrogen for applications like tire inflation, inert storage tanks, and purging pipelines.
  • Fuel Cell Technology:  Hydrogen gas is a promising fuel source for fuel cells. Gas boosters are used to pressurize hydrogen gas to the levels required for efficient fuel cell operation.
N₂ booster

How Gas Boosters Are Used for Pressure Testing Equipment?

Gas boosters play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and reliability of equipment by aiding in pressure testing. Here’s a detailed look at how they’re utilized:

The Role of Gas Booster in Pressure Testing

Pressure testing is a critical safety procedure for equipment that will be exposed to high pressures during operation. It ensures the equipment can withstand the intended stress without failure, preventing potential accidents and injuries.

How Gas Boosters Facilitate Pressure Testing?

  • Generating High Test Pressure:  Most equipment operates within a specific pressure range. Standard compressed gas supplies often lack the pressure necessary for thorough testing. Gas boosters take readily available compressed air (or other gas) and amplify its pressure to the required level for testing.
  • Precise Pressure Control:  Pressure testing often involves gradually increasing pressure or holding a specific pressure for a certain duration. Gas boosters, equipped with pressure regulators, allow for precise control over the output pressure. This enables technicians to follow specific testing protocols and identify potential weak points in the equipment.
  • Testing Different Equipment Types:  Gas boosters come in various configurations with varying pressure outputs. This versatility allows them to be used for pressure testing a wide range of equipment, from pipelines and pressure vessels to valves, gauges, and other components.
  • Safe and Efficient Testing:  Gas boosters offer a safe and efficient way to conduct pressure testing. Compared to alternative methods like hand pumps, they are faster and require less manual effort. Additionally, they provide a more consistent and controllable pressure source for accurate testing.

The Testing Process of Gas Booster

  • Equipment Preparation:  The equipment to be tested is thoroughly inspected and prepared for the pressure test. This may involve isolating the equipment from the system, closing safety valves, and installing pressure measurement devices.
  • Booster Setup and Connection:  A gas booster is selected based on the required test pressure. It’s then connected to the equipment using appropriate hoses and fittings, ensuring a secure and leak-proof connection.
  • Pressure Application and Monitoring:  The gas booster is activated, and the pressure is gradually increased to the desired test level according to the testing protocol. Pressure gauges are closely monitored throughout the process to ensure the equipment stays within safe limits.
  • Holding and Observation:  Once the target pressure is reached, it’s held constant for a predetermined time. During this holding period, the equipment is carefully observed for any signs of leaks, deformations, or abnormal behavior.
  • Pressure Release and Inspection:  After the holding period, the pressure is slowly released in a controlled manner. The equipment is then thoroughly inspected for any damage or permanent deformation that might indicate potential failure.

Benefits of Using Gas Boosters for Pressure Testing

  • Accurate and Controllable Pressure:  Gas boosters provide a precise and controllable way to achieve the desired test pressure. This allows for tailored testing based on equipment specifications.
  • Safe and Efficient:  The gradual pressurization and venting processes offered by gas boosters minimize the risk of equipment damage during testing.
  • Versatility:  Gas boosters can be used for pressure testing a wide range of equipment across various industries, making them a valuable tool.
  • Cost-Effective:  Compared to alternative methods like using compressed gas cylinders directly, gas boosters can be a more cost-effective solution for frequent pressure testing needs.
Oxygen boosters


Gas boosters serve as the backbone for numerous industrial processes and scientific advancements. Their ability to manipulate gas pressure unlocks a vast array of applications, from ensuring safe and efficient gas delivery in industrial settings to creating controlled environments for research and development. When coupled with proper gas pressure testing equipment and adherence to safety protocols, gas boosters play a vital role in driving innovation and maintaining safety across various industries. As technology continues to evolve, gas boosters are certain to remain an indispensable tool for harnessing the potential of compressed gases in the years to come.

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