Hydrogen Infrastructure Testing and Research Facility
The Hydrogen Infrastructure Testing and Research Facility (HITRF) provides a hydrogen distribution network to multiple Energy Systems Integration Facility labs researching hydrogen production through renewable electrolysis, fuel cell manufacturing and testing, high-pressure component testing, and hydrogen sensor testing.
The HITRF offers the following capabilities.
Low Pressure Storage
The low pressure hydrogen storage system consists of eleven steel hydrogen tanks at a pressure up to 200 bar that can store 190 kilograms of hydrogen at full pressure. This system provides house hydrogen to fuel cell labs and feeds the medium pressure compressor.
Medium Pressure Storage
The medium pressure hydrogen storage system consists of six hydrogen tanks at a pressure up to 415 bar that can store 85 kilograms of hydrogen at full pressure. This system provides hydrogen to fill fuel cell forklifts and feeds the high pressure compressor.
High Pressure Storage
The high pressure hydrogen storage system consists of four Type II hydrogen tanks at a pressure up to 900 bar that can store 60 kilograms of hydrogen at full pressure. This system provides hydrogen to high pressure research projects and for fuel cell electric vehicle fills.
Medium Pressure Compression
The medium pressure compressor can take hydrogen from 7 bar up to 415 bar. It is a 50 kg/day outdoor-rated diaphragm compressor that has two stages of compression built into the system. NREL collects data on compressor maintenance and reliability, process gas quality, and power and energy demand.
High Pressure Compression
The high pressure compressor can take hydrogen from 415 bar up to 900 bar. It is an outdoor-rated, 480 kg/day linear piston hydraulic compressor. NREL collects data on compressor maintenance and reliability, process gas quality, and power and energy demand.
Chiller and Heat Exchanger
A 9-horsepower chiller supports H70 hydrogen refueling for fuel cell electric vehicles. The chiller and heat exchanger aim to pre-chill the hydrogen gas entering a fuel cell electric vehicle down to -40°C. NREL collects power data to measure chiller performance. On a warm day with the dispenser idle (no fills) the chiller uses 44 kWh of electricity per day. The chiller uses 4 kWh of energy to recover from a fill.
The H70 (70 MPa/700 bar) hydrogen dispenser is capable of fueling hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to SAE J2601 and MC Formula standards. The dispenser also has an H35 (35 MPa/350 bar) line that can fill fuel cell forklifts and provide non-pre-chilled hydrogen fills to fuel cell electric vehicles. The fuel quality is checked periodically to ensure the station adheres to the SAE J2719: Hydrogen Fuel Quality for Fuel Cell Vehicles standard.
NREL's electrolyzer stack test bed in the Energy Systems Integration Facility is a flexible platform for large active area stack testing with AC-DC power supplies capable of 4,000 ADC and 250 VDC. Stack and individual cell voltage measurements are taken to provide real time monitoring of stack and cell efficiency. The electrolyzer system provides house hydrogen to NREL's research projects and hydrogen fueling station.
Safety and Training
The HITRF is representative of current commercially available hydrogen fueling stations. This enables NREL to validate current industry standards and methods for hydrogen fueling, provide data and expertise to organizations that are developing model codes and standards, and test next-generation fuel cell and hydrogen components for operation and safety.
Fuel Cell Vehicles
Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are clean, efficient, refuel quickly, and provide long driving range. The challenges to widespread deployment include hydrogen infrastructure cost and reliability and fuel cell durability and reliability. NREL has three FCEVs on loan from partners in its test and evaluation fleet. These FCEVs allow NREL to educate visitors and the public about hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and evaluate the hydrogen fueling experience and equipment using a variety of vehicle types that reflect what will happen at a commercial hydrogen fueling station.
Hydrogen at Scale
Hydrogen is a flexible, clean energy-carrying intermediate that enables aggressive market penetration of renewables while deeply decarbonizing our energy system. The H2@Scale vision is a future energy system that uses hydrogen to connect low carbon energy sources to all of the energy sectors—electric grid, transportation, and industrial—to decrease total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by half relative to business as usual by 2050.
NREL uses an automated data logging system to collect operating and maintenance data from all of the HITRF components and report on every facet of hydrogen station performance. The National Fuel Cell Technology Evaluation Center (NFCTEC) at NREL regularly collects and compiles maintenance data from forecourt hydrogen stations. NREL is combining the data collected from the HITRF with NFCTEC data to improve the public knowledge of hydrogen station costs and operating requirements.
The HITRF supports many different research projects at NREL. Many of these projects are part of the Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology (H2FIRST) project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Fuel Cell Technologies Office and led by Sandia National Laboratories and NREL. The HITRF also provides an integrated hydrogen distribution network to multiple ESIF labs researching hydrogen production through renewable electrolysis, fuel cell manufacturing and testing, high-pressure component testing, and hydrogen sensor testing
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The station pad, which has more space than typical hydrogen stations, allows for infrastructure components—both research and commercial—to be moved in and out easily.
High and medium pressure compressors; high, medium, and low pressure storage; and a trench to hydrogen dispenser
The hydrogen dispenser is capable of fueling different types of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
H70 (70 MPa 700/bar) fuel line for SAE J2601 and MC formula standards; H35 (35 MPa 350/bar) fuel line for forklifts and non-pre-chilled fills; and chiller and heat exchanger for H70 fueling
The electrolyzer system provides onsite hydrogen production up to 50 kilograms/day, and for stack and individual cell voltage measurements, real-time monitoring of stack and cell efficiency.
Flexible platform for large, active area stack testing; AC-DC power supplies capable of 4,000 amp DC, 250 V DC