Hawaii Commissions “Fast-Fill” Hydrogen Fueling Station

JUL 21 2015 BY MARK KANE 29

Hyundai Tucson ix35

Hyundai Tucson ix35

Hawai has its first self-fill hydrogen refueling station with both 350 and 700 bar pressure.

It was launched by the the Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) at the Marine Corps Base Hawai‘i (MCBH), Kaneohe Bay in November 2014, and was recently certified for unattended operation.

Base purpose of the station is to serve a fleet of General Motors Equinox Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) leased by the Office of Naval Research for use by Marine Corps and Navy personnel on O‘ahu.

This is not a commercial station and the press release doesn’t include any information on price of use or whether it’s available for future Hyundai Tucson ix35 or Toyota Mirai owners.

“A major challenge for hydrogen production and dispensing stations is the cost of hydrogen at the nozzle. In this project, HNEI 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 5 minutes) fueling station. The technical analysis will include component efficiencies under various operating scenarios and the long-term durability of major components. 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 this 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).

The MCBH Fast-Fill hydrogen station is part of the Hawai‘i Hydrogen Power Park project established by HNEI to support the US DOE’s Technology Validation Program.  The initial funding from the US DOE Fuel Cell Technology Office was used to procure the electrolyzer and a low-pressure fueling capability.  Additional funding was received from the Office of Naval Research to expand the capability to include the 700 bar Fast Fill to support the Equinox FCEV demonstration at MCBH on O‘ahu. The State of Hawai‘i also provided funding that was used for project management and the installation of equipment.”

General Motors’ Hawai‘i Site Leader Chris Colquitt said:

“We have been really impressed with the fill speed and control algorithms of the hydrogen station at MCBH. It is exciting to experience consistent 4-minute 700 bar fills. I am confident the Department of Defense (DoD) drivers of the FCEVs will be delighted as well. The algorithms to control flow have done a really good job of ensuring tank temperature thresholds are maintained without stopping fills before completion. On top of all that, the station and site aesthetic came out really well.”

HNEI Director Richard Rocheleau said:

“We are excited that the MCBH hydrogen station is now servicing Fast Fills by the drivers without an attendant – a first in Hawai‘i. We are also pleased that General Motors is satisfied with the performance of the station. We hope that our research efforts will help accelerate the deployment of hydrogen stations throughout Hawai‘i as it contributes to the DoD’s energy goals.”

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29 Comments on "Hawaii Commissions “Fast-Fill” Hydrogen Fueling Station"

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Big Solar
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Big Solar

ok, no more hydrogen articles unless explosions are involved.

Heisenberght
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Heisenberght

Well that explosions will quite likely be huge enough to make some news.

I really don’t get why the hydrogen enthusiasts don’t see that handling hydrogen at pressures up to 700 bar is not that convienient for consumers…

…most people I know – including me 😉 – become nervous when handling pressures above 30 bar.

This article shows that hydrogen is far from beeing a consumer accepted solution in the next 10 to 15 years. No easy solution to all the drawbacks of hydrogen in sight, IMO.

Lou
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Lou

I find the idea of H2 fascinating. I just don’t understand its advantages over BEVs. Yes, it is great that a vehicle can be refilled in 5 minutes, and that the range is excellent. However, are we really making a better mode of propulsion? To those that live in apartments or are unable to charge overnight, this makes sense. Maybe, too, for large vehicles it is a good alternative to gas. However, it doesn’t seem as convenient or as cheap as plugging in to your own electricity at home and getting a full battery every day. Once the larger batteries are commonplace(and they certainly appear well on their way to that), why would anyone want an FCV vehicle. Nevertheless, I still appreciate the fact that we have a way to drive without the pollution and such of carbon fuels.

Anon
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Anon
Hydrogen is not as convenient as charging at home. Hydrogen vehicles tend to be about as exciting as driving a Prius– 0 – 60 in about 8 or more seconds. *Yawn* Hydrogen isn’t much more efficient than a modern diesel or gas hybrid system that already exists today. Hydrogen is not as energy dense as gasoline, so it needs to be highly compressed to 700 bar (10,152 psi) in a specially reinforced tank. The evening news will become a lot more exciting when covering hydrogen vehicle accidents with sheering forces or hot fires. Hydrogen is highly corrosive and known to slip thru the atoms of many materials used to contain it. Hydrogen embrittles metal it comes in contact with; damaging storage, fueling and drive train components over time. Fuel Cell corrosion is pretty common, expensive exotic materials and special coatings are used to control this. Hydrogen is less energy efficient to create, store, compress, and use in a FCV vehicle, over just putting electrons in a battery. It also takes electrons to create hydrogen, so there appears to be no sustainability advantage to using it, except for 4 minute refills. A swap station takes about as long, so there are… Read more »
MikeM
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MikeM

This the most spot-on, succinct description of the approaching H2 debacle that I have ever read.

Well worth clipping and keeping!

Well done Mr/Ms Anon!

Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu

“This the most spot-on, succinct description of the approaching H2 debacle that I have ever read.”

Well, except for the part where he implies that an exploding hydrogen tank will be like a blockbuster bomb going off. Erm… no. Expanding gas? Yes. Flaming gas? No. It can’t ignite until it is well mixed with oxygen, and that can’t happen while it’s expanding rapidly. And hydrogen, being lighter than air, rises as it expands. So even if it does catch fire, chances are it will do little damage.

And also, 10,000 PSI is only half the equation. How much gas at 10,000 PSI is there? A tanker truck full of hydrogen at 10,000 PSI would certainly be an impressive explosion (“explosion” only in the sense of rapidly expanding gas, not burning extremely rapidly) if the tank ruptured. A thimble at the same PSI… rather less impressive, or even noticeable more than a few feet away.

A “fool cell” car’s tank exploding will release more energy than the latter, but rather less than the former.

So sorry, disaster fans, no Hindenburg style accidents with “fool cell” cars.

Someone out there
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Someone out there

If you live in an apartment you often rent a parking space. The people you rent parking from can then put up an EVSE for you and possibly make a buck off it too.
Where I live the landlord has already asked us if we anyone needs an EVSE but I don’t have a car much less an EV so I don’t.

MikeM - PSI vs. BAR
Guest
MikeM - PSI vs. BAR

A commenter on a thread here or in CleanTechnica (sorry can’t attribute due to blogogenic memory loss) made the point that the use of the Bar as a unit of H2 pressure was deliberately chosen to confuse Mr/Ms general public.

As we all know, an odd looking number like 700 bar is by amazing coincidence equivalent to ≈10,000 PSI (PSI = a unit people in general have at least heard of).

“Say what ?? How many PSI you putting in my tank ??”
“But my pretty safe barbecue Propane tank runs at 50-150 PSI. Isn’t 10,000 a bit like putting bombs in the back seat of my beloved Mirai ?”

I propose that future references to H2 pressure be exclusively expressed in PSI. (For purposes of full disclosure, you understand).

Spread the word !!!

Heisenberght
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Heisenberght

While I totally agree, that putting highly pressurized hydrogen in a tank is not a way to make people comfortable with a car, I have to say that I am quite happy that “bar” is used instead of “PSI” but that may result from living in europe 😉

What If they used “Pa” instead? Would be even funnier 😉

ffbj
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ffbj

Hydrogen only makes sense in very specific situations, like islands where the price of other motive fuels are expensive.
Still I wonder what would have happened if a hydrogen vehicle had been in the path of the fire that over-topped the freeway in CA.

Big Solar
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Big Solar

it would have likely been bad but then explained away on FOX Fantasy News

finecadmin
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Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu

Yeah, hydrogen fuel makes sense only in very specific situations… like the booster stage of a rocket. Otherwise, not so much.

sven
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sven

“General Motors’ Hawai‘i Site Leader Chris Colquitt said: . . . On top of all that, the station and site aesthetic came out really well”

Yes, it looks absolutely fabulous! The corrugated metal walls contrast really well with those rustic, faux brick-face jersey barriers. The royal blue color of the filling pump really pops against a background of hunter green and earth tones. Well done hydrogen fuel station builder man.

Anon
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Anon

It’s amusing how they wrapped the pump to look like awesome, clean sparkling water– the same water that comes out of the tailpipe of a typical FCV. Water, which is in fact, not neutral pH balanced(it’s slightly acidic, of course). And every Toyota Exec involved with their hydrogen drive train project– absolutely refuses to drink it.

That’s kinda telling.

Has anyone done any environmental impact studies from acidic water dribbling out of millions of hydrogen-car tailpipes?

finecadmin
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Not actually necessary, since hydrogen can’t be deployed enough to be viable.

In the chicken-and-egg dilemma of alternative fuels, hydrogen is sampuru:

http://enroute.aircanada.com/en/articles/tokyo-s-fake-food-workshop

Stephen
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Stephen

This is a government study of H2 cost. This needs to be followed up so that a real number can be used in future discussion.

Heisenberght
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Heisenberght

I herewith predict: Hydrogen refuelling will be quite expensive.

While I normally tend to not predict the future, I think in this case it is quite obvious (regarding all the technical problems with hydrogen, see Anon’s post)

sven
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sven

I was wondering why throughout the story above they used the spelling Hawai’i, instead of Hawaii. I googled it and came up with this explanation:

“Hawai’i
You will notice throughout this website that the word ” Hawai’i” has what looks like an apostrophe between the last 2 letters. This is the correct spelling in the Hawaiian language. The apostrophe is actually called a “glottal stop”. The glottal stop is used as a pause and also to differentiate words. For example, Lana’i is the name of a Hawaiian island. Lanai (without a glottal stop) means a balcony.”

http://www.hawaii-post.com/

finecadmin
Guest

I was wondering when the lost-cause lovers would pipe up, to try and distract us from reality:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KS26bVHCDD4&app=desktop

sven
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sven

If you’re going to try and insult me, next time try doing it with a video clip that is available for viewing in the U.S.. Fail.

Assaf
Guest

Can someone please explain to me why hydrogen vehicles are needed in O’ahu?

From that base, it is no more then 45 miles’ drive to any point on the island. Temperatures are nearly always mild, and given the mostly narrow roads, you cannot burn the battery away at 70 MPH either.

In other words, with a Leaf or similar you can safely do a round trip from anywhere in O’ahu to anywhere else. And even minimal QC+L2 infrastructure can make sure no BEV ever gets stuck.

Oops, just Plugshared O’ahu. That infrastructure already exists.

This H2 station is the very definition of a taxpayer-money-wasting pet project.

Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu

“This H2 station is the very definition of a taxpayer-money-wasting pet project.”

Ya think?

krona2k
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krona2k

“A major challenge for hydrogen production and dispensing stations is the cost of hydrogen at the nozzle”

We want it to be cheap, we keep suggesting it could be cheap, but for some reason it keeps not being cheap, and we just can’t work out why. There must be a logical reason.

Brian_Henderson
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“initial funding from the US DOE Fuel Cell Technology Office was used to procure the electrolyzer and a low-pressure fueling capability.”

Note: “electrolyzer” = hydrogen

ie: fuel and fueling station proved at no cost to the base.

Brian_Henderson
Guest

“The algorithms to control flow have done a really good job of ensuring tank temperature thresholds are maintained without stopping fills before completion.”

FYI: “temperature thresholds are maintained” implies the tank doesn’t overheat during (repeated) fillings.

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Pushmi-Pullyu

“In this project, HNEI 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 5 minutes) fueling station.”

So, how many millions of taxpayer dollars have you wasted (and will you continue to waste) on confirming what a back-of-the-envelope cost/benefit analysis would show you: That hydrogen fuel can never be made cheaply enough to compete with either gasoline or electricity for powering cars?

HVACman
Guest
HVACman

” to assess the technical performance and economic value of an electrolyzer-based hydrogen production”

Assess the economic value? They’re joking, right? We know that answer right now – every study on H2 has shown it – the only way numbers come close to penciling out is when hydrogen is created through steam-reforming natural gas.

There is no natural gas on O’ahu so they have to electrolyze to make the H2, which those same published studies show that even with inexpensive mainland-based electricity, it makes very expensive H2.

Anyone want to guess how O’ahu generates most electricity and much it costs?

With no natural gas, they burn oil (85%…renewables are 15%). The electricity costs $0.22/kWh. So they burn imported oil to generate very expensive electricity, dump lots of C02 into the air, turn that expensive electricity inefficiently into outrageously-expensive hydrogen via electrolysis, use more expensive electricity to compress it to 700 bars, and give the owner ONE place to fuel up on the island. And they still are “assessing the economic value”? I can’t wait to read that report….

But at least the dispensers are pretty and the users aren’t freaked out by the high pressures. That’s what counts.

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Pushmi-Pullyu

HVACman said:

“Assess the economic value? They’re joking, right? We know that answer right now – every study on H2 has shown it – the only way numbers come close to penciling out is when hydrogen is created through steam-reforming natural gas.”

You haven’t stated the case strongly enough. Even with steam-reformed natural gas, the cost is still much higher that gasoline, and the cost in terms of pollution and carbon emissions is still much higher, due to all the energy-wasting steps downstream from the initial reforming process.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:1mtHrMt08C0J:www.energyandcapital.com/articles/hydrogen-economy-fuel%2Bcell/480+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

(Note on the above link: I can’t get the direct link to work today, so the above link goes to Google’s cache of the article)