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NREL- and Sandia-Developed HyStEP Device Receives Far West FLC Award

September 1, 2016

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), and industry partners Air Liquide, Boyd Hydrogen, California Air Resources Board, and Toyota were selected as 2016 recipients of a Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Far West Region Award for their outstanding partnership in designing, building, and deploying the Hydrogen Station Equipment Performance (HyStEP) Device.

The Far West Region of the FLC represents more than 200 laboratory facilities that continuously produce and commercialize groundbreaking technologies and boost the regional economy. As FLC awards are granted for outstanding achievements in technology transfer, the HyStEP device represents an innovative approach to significantly saving vehicle manufacturers' time and resources. HyStEP measures the performance of hydrogen fueling station dispensers, with respect to the required fueling protocol standard, and eliminates the need for individual automotive manufacturers to perform validation tests. By providing this service, the new device is helping California meet its goal of commissioning as many as 44 new fueling stations by the end of 2016.

NREL Senior Engineer Chris Ainscough and Engineer Danny Terlip with the laboratory's hydrogen analysis group will be honored Sept. 14 at the Far West and Mid-Continent Regional Meeting awards dinner for their contributions to the project. Six other individuals from SNL and industry groups also will be recognized.

"HyStEP represents a great example of our collaborative work with another national laboratory, the Department of Energy, state governments and the automotive industry in achieving a common goal to accelerate clean energy technologies," said Ainscough. "We are excited to receive this award with all our partners and hope that HyStEP will continue to benefit vehicle manufacturers throughout the country."

Part of the H2FIRST project, the device was developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Fuel Cell Technologies Office. NREL and SNL contracted Powertech to build the device in California where the state government is working to meet several policy objectives to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut petroleum use, and achieve higher air-quality standards. Deploying fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) technologies is one part of the state's strategy to meet these targets.

Dispensing a full tank of hydrogen into a FCEV in just a few minutes can be challenging because of associated rising temperatures of the vehicle storage tanks. For this reason, automotive manufacturers have been performing their own validation tests to evaluate the performance of hydrogen dispensers that meet fueling protocol standards. Yet coordinating several manufacturers to perform fueling and validation tests slows down the commissioning process-sometimes requiring two months to complete testing. The NREL- and SNL-developed device, with strong support from car manufacturers, offers a more timely and technologically advanced solution.

HyStEP is equipped with modular tanks and all of the instrumentation, including pressure and temperature sensors, that automotive manufacturers typically use in performing their own tests. Built inside the bed of a trailer, the device is both mobile and protected from the outside environment. It includes three high-pressure (type IV) hydrogen tanks that are capable of storing nine kilograms of hydrogen at 70 megapascals (MPa). Hydrogen-fueled vehicles that are currently on the market store about five kilograms of hydrogen and offer a 300-mile driving range. The device's temperature and pressure sensors, in addition to communications systems, allow for analysis, validation of controlled fueling and defueling, and leak detection when using the technology. SNL and NREL are collecting data from the validation tests to improve upon standards for hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

By demonstrating HyStEP's impact in California, which has accelerated the state's long-term goal to establish a hydrogen fueling network of 100 retail stations in the Los Angeles region, researchers hope the device will be embraced across the United States.

"Receiving this award highlights the success we've already seen in making hydrogen fuel cell technologies more and more accessible in California," said Terlip. "We're truly honored to share this recognition with our partners and hope to keep the HyStEP momentum going."

Recipients of the Far West Regional Award from NREL, SNL, Air Liquide, Boyd Hydrogen, California Air Resources Board, and Toyota automatically enter the 2017 National FLC Awards competition. Winners will be announced at the regional awards ceremony in September.

Learn more about NREL's work in hydrogen and fuel cell research .

—Wayne Hicks