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HNEI commissions fast-fill high-pressure H2 filling station in Hawai‘i

The Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) has commissioned a “Fast-Fill” high-pressure hydrogen fueling station at the Marine Corps Base Hawai‘i (MCBH), Kaneohe Bay. This state-of-the-art station was developed to support a fleet of GM Equinox Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) leased by the Office of Naval Research for use by Marine Corps and Navy personnel on O‘ahu. 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. Unattended operation will serve as a model for the installation of private stations throughout the state.

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.

—Chris Colquitt, GM’s Hawai‘i Site Leader

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.

The project has received funding support from the US DOE, the State of Hawai‘i and the Office of Naval Research.


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