National Lab Dedicates Colorado Hydrogen Fueling Station


On Oct. 8, designated National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) dedicated its 700-bar hydrogen fueling station in Golden, Colo.

NREL says the fueling station is part of the lab's new Hydrogen Infrastructure Testing and Research Facility (HITRF), where scientists will be able to produce hydrogen through electrolysis, test fuel cell vehicle and infrastructure components and systems, and improve renewable hydrogen production methods.

NREL opened its first hydrogen fueling research station in 2009 at the National Wind Technology Center south of Boulder, Colo., as part of the Wind-to-Hydrogen project studying renewable hydrogen production through electrolysis. NREL says the new HITRF station in Golden builds on that experience and expertise.

According to the lab, HITRF is a retail-style station in a research setting – enabling demonstration of real-world hydrogen fueling and infrastructure technologies with no disruption to customer service. NREL is using the HITRF to test the hydrogen station equipment performance (HyStEP) device for the DOE as part of the Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology project, or H2FIRST, in collaboration with Sandia National Laboratories. NREL says the HyStEP device is intended to accelerate commercial hydrogen station acceptance by validating that the station can follow standard protocols for safe hydrogen fueling. The data generated by the device will be shared with all car manufacturers, instead of each company having to separately validate a station's performance, according to the lab.

‘It's a significant cost and time savings for car companies,’ says Keith Wipke, manager of NREL's Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies program. ‘Customers can start using a new station within a week after it opens instead of six to 10 weeks as each company does its own testing. That's a major improvement.’

Pennsylvania-based Air Products, which plans to launch three California hydrogen fueling stations this month, notes that the new Colorado station features the company's SmartFuel hydrogen fueling dispenser.

‘Air Products is proud that NREL chose our SmartFuel technology for the hydrogen fueling equipment for their station,’ says Air Products' Ed Kiczek. ‘The world faces a huge challenge in making the shift toward clean, sustainable energy sources and using those resources as efficiently as possible. Those of us in the hydrogen fueling market applaud and commend the effort of the government for taking a world-leading role.”

NREL notes the U.S. Senate declared Oct. 8 as National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day because the atomic weight of hydrogen is 1.008.

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