Hawaii Researchers Open Fast-Fill Hydrogen Fueling Station


The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) has commissioned a fast-fill, high-pressure hydrogen fueling station at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH), Kaneohe Bay.

According to HNEI, the station was developed to support a fleet of General Motors Equinox fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) leased by the Office of Naval Research for use by Marine Corps and Navy personnel on Oahu.

Operational since November 2014, this station was recently certified for unattended operation, allowing drivers to self-fill their cars just as they would do at any gasoline fueling station. HNEI says unattended operation will serve as a model for the installation of private stations throughout Hawaii.

A major challenge for hydrogen production and dispensing stations is the cost of hydrogen at the nozzle. In this project, HNEI says it is conducting research to assess the technical performance and economic value of an electrolyzer-based hydrogen production system in a 350/700 bar fast-fill (under five minutes) fueling station. The technical analysis will include component efficiencies under various operating scenarios and the long-term durability of major components.

HNEI says the economic analysis will determine the daily operating cost of the station and the overall cost benefits of producing hydrogen. The dual-fill pressure capability will allow the station to service both light-duty vehicles that have largely been designed to use high pressure (700 bar) hydrogen storage and larger fleet vehicles, such as buses, which usually are designed for lower pressure (350 bar).

“We have been really impressed with the fill speed and control algorithms of the hydrogen station at MCBH,” comments Chris Colquitt, General Motors' Hawaii site leader. “It is exciting to experience consistent four-minute 700-bar fills. I am confident the Department of Defense drivers of the FCEVs will be delighted as well.”

The MCBH hydrogen station is part of the Hawaii Hydrogen Power Park project established by HNEI to support the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Technology Validation Program. The DOE, the State of Hawaii and the Office of Naval Research have each provided funding support for the project.

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