NREL facilitates installment of advanced hydrogen fuel station in D.C.

A hydrogen fueling dispenser. Photo courtesy of NREL.

(NREL) The US Department of Energy's (DOE's) Fuel Cell Technologies Office and Department of Interior's National Park Service recently established a partnership to demonstrate hydrogen technologies in the Washington, D.C. area for up to four years. Kicking off the partnership, the two agencies unveiled a modular demonstration hydrogen fueling station during the Sustainable Transportation Summit on July 11, 2016, supporting the first phase of their collaborative efforts to accelerate deployment of advanced hydrogen fuel cell technologies.

This phase of the demonstration provides opportunities for federal agencies to gain hands-on experience by showcasing and using fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) technologies throughout the D.C. metro region. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) helped with installation of the technology from the project's inception to its grand opening—hiring contractors through a competitive bid process to complete design and installation. Planning and deploying the new station—including assessing and documenting the current level of knowledge on hydrogen fueling technologies for contractors, first responders, authorities having jurisdiction, and the general public near Washington, D.C. has provided NREL with valuable insight on the unique aspects of hydrogen station permitting and construction. NREL is compiling these insights into a report, which will serve as a guide for future installations.

"The hydrogen fueling station in Washington has already given NREL valuable information on existing knowledge gaps to install such technology," said NREL Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center Director Chris Gearhart, who attended the opening event for the new station. "That information, combined with the data we're collecting on the station's performance, will continue to enhance our efforts in making hydrogen fuel cell technologies a viable option for consumers."

The station equipment uses hydrogen generation systems based on proton exchange membrane electrolysis technology. The station's electrolyzer will produce up to 43 kg of hydrogen a day, enough to fully fill roughly seven cars a day with an approximate 300-mile driving range each. NREL is collecting data on the station's performance throughout the lifetime of the demonstration, and because the equipment is easily relocated, it can also be used to support FCEVs elsewhere in the region after the demonstration project concludes. It is also the first modular station that the laboratory has helped to install and analyze for its performance.

This collaboration and demonstration fueling station is just one milestone on the path to a more sustainable future and a critical step in developing greater access to fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, as well as a crucial resource for NREL to collect data on deployment of the technologies. The partnering agencies plan to deploy several demonstrations in the Washington, D.C. region around clean energy and hydrogen fuel cell technologies in the years to come.

This story was adapted from a story on the NREL website. For the full story and more news on hydrogen fuel cells, visit the NREL website:

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