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AVRC and NCSU Provide Plans for Building a Portable Hydrogen Fueling Station

The AVRC (Advanced Vehicle Research Center) in Raleigh, North Carolina, and North Carolina State University Solar Center have developed a design and build plan for a portable hydrogen refueling station. The project was funded with a US Department of Energy (DOE) grant.

Component flow chart for the portable hydrogen fueling station. Click to enlarge.

AVRC and NCSU have drafted a complete plan to “build it yourself.” The plan has drawings, bill of materials, safety considerations, component suppliers, costs, etc. The station has not actually been built yet.

The station’s concept design calls for it to fit in a portable container which can be transported on the bed of a truck to specific utilization sites. The station can then be removed from the truck bed and set up as a temporary fueling station wherever needed.

The station is designed to produce its own electricity and carry its own water supply. Electricity for all the station’s equipment will be provided by an onboard diesel generator and water is supplied by a built-in storage tank.  However, the design could easily be modified to incorporate utility supplied electricity and water or electricity produced by alternative means, such as a photovoltaic system.

A Hogen RE 40 hydrogen generator has been selected for the basic design. This generator is capable of producing approximately 40 SCFH, or 960 SCFD, of fuel grade hydrogen by electrolysis. For a vehicle such as the Honda FCX, which when full has a fuel volume of 1,592 ft3, this production rate will allow approximately 4.2 vehicles to be refueled per week.

The cost of materials according to the plan bill of materials is about $300,000 (not counting the truck or trailer platform). Construction costs should add another $100,000+.

Plans are available free at the AVRC web site,



Why not just use a few cheap industrail h2 tanks and swing by the local h2 dealer every few weeks? 4 50 kg h2 tanks should fill up 50 or more such cars and cost very little. If this is ro help make cheap h2 demo refueling sites thats realy all you need for the next 5 years.


This does seem a bit odd. I suppose you could collect rain water and have solar panels. It is an interesting exercise, but not very practical at this stage. Using a diesel genset is not stand alone. You have to bring the fuel out to it or truck it back. I guess this part of the hydrogen highway they talk about, but not really all that useful.


This is smoke and mirrors to create the false impression that its not cost effective to make hydrogen, when in reality it is, and has been for 20 years. Search hydrogen on demand and Yull Brown and get the truth.


Diesel > E > H2O > H2 in a half million dollar system? The cost of the diesel will kill the economics. To what end?


They could have done methanol and an SOFC or if they had to do diesel use one of the copper/ceria types. You could do heat recovery with brayton and rankine turbines for efficiency over 70%. I guess they just wanted something quick to show that it could be done.

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