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Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology


This is the May 2015 issue of the Transportation and Hydrogen Newsletter.

May 28, 2015

Photo of a car refueling at a hydrogen dispensing station.

DOE's H2FIRST project focuses on accelerating the acceptance of hydrogen infrastructure.
Photo by John De La Rosa, NREL 33660

New H2FIRST Reports Detail Hydrogen Station Designs, Contaminant Detection
Two new reports have been published by NREL and Sandia National Laboratories researchers with DOE's Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology (H2FIRST) project. The H2FIRST Reference Station Design Task report presents the advantages and disadvantages of different fueling station designs to give station developers a starting point for actual, near-term station installations. The H2FIRST Hydrogen Contaminant Detector Task report examines hydrogen contaminant detectors as a way to assure high-quality gas, and lists recommendations for purchase and installation and gaps between what is currently available and what is required.

Tool Helps Examine Financial Aspects of Hydrogen Station Installation

A quick, convenient aid for analyzing the financial aspects of installing hydrogen fueling stations is now available. The Hydrogen Financial Analysis Scenario Tool or H2FAST, which was introduced at the DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee Meeting in April, comes in two formats. The online format lets you vary approximately 20 station installation and financial inputs to see how the basic financial performance metrics change. The spreadsheet version of H2FAST provides you with detailed annual finance projections, financial performance parameters, and other results for single stations or groups of up to 10 stations.

Nations First Power-to-Gas Project Explores Solution for Storing Surplus Energy

A new demonstration project launched by NREL, Southern California Gas Company, and the National Fuel Cell Research Center will create and evaluate a carbon-free power-to-gas system. Using electrolyzer-based methods, the power-to-gas concept uses electricity from renewable sources, such as solar and wind power, to make hydrogen gas by breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can then be converted to synthetic, renewable methane and stored to meet future energy needs. It can also be used as an energy source for vehicles, micro-turbines, fuel cells, or other equipment.

New Guide Outlines Safety Considerations for Hydrogen Technologies

While safety requirements for industrial uses of hydrogen are relatively well established, placing hydrogen at public fueling stations and using it in vehicles have created the need for additional safety requirements. The new Hydrogen Technologies Safety Guide provides project developers, code officials, and others with background information that puts hydrogen safety in context. For example, code officials reviewing permit applications for hydrogen projects will get an understanding of the industrial history of hydrogen, basic safety concerns, and safety requirements.

Scientists Develop New Method to Stabilize Solar Water-Splitting Electrodes

NREL scientists have developed a new method of treating semiconductor surfaces that can stabilize the material under hydrogen evolution conditions in an electrolyte. This method can specifically benefit photoelectrochemical (PEC) devices, which use sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. In a PEC device, a light-harvesting system is combined with a water-splitting system, which comprises a semiconductor immersed in an aqueous electrolyte solution. NRELs approach mitigates the corrosion problem commonly seen with the semiconductor materials used in such devices.

NREL Documents Continued Progress in Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle, Infrastructure Technologies

NREL's National Fuel Cell Technology Evaluation Center has published updated composite data products (CDPs) for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), hydrogen infrastructure, material handling equipment, and stationary fuel cell systems. These CDPs show the status and progress of fuel cell technologies and help the development community identify areas for continued improvement. New FCEV evaluation results document a steady increase in fuel cell durability since 2006 as well as improved fuel economy and driving range.

Learn more about opportunities to collaborate with NREL on sustainable transportation solutions.