April 22, 2015

In 2013, auto manufacturers started announcing fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) commercialization plans. Since then, Toyota, Hyundai, General Motors, Honda, Mercedes/Daimler, and others have all committed to putting FCEVs on the road, some as early as the 2015–2017 timeframe. As states with zero-emissions vehicle programs prepare for commercial deployment of FCEVs, investors, regulatory bodies, and engineering design firms will need support in developing cost-effective hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

To overcome this hurdle, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced new tools developed in support of H2USA focused on hydrogen fueling infrastructure analysis.  H2USA is a public private partnership founded in 2013 by DOE, along with automakers and other stakeholders, to address the key challenges of hydrogen infrastructure. H2USA’s mission is to promote the introduction and widespread adoption of FCEVs across America.

The new analysis tools were developed to help address technical and financial barriers to hydrogen fueling infrastructure deployment: 

  • Developed by Argonne National Laboratory, the Hydrogen Refueling Stations Analysis Model (HRSAM) will help to assess the impact of station design on station economics. The model optimizes station component size to meet demand while minimizing cost. It estimates capital and operating cost based on design variables such as station capacity and mode of hydrogen delivery.
  • The Hydrogen Financial Analysis Tool (H2FAST) provides in-depth financial analysis including cash flow and return on investments for hydrogen fueling stations based on financial inputs such as station capital cost, operating cost, and financing mechanisms. This tool was developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

In direct support of H2USA, DOE launched the Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology (H2FIRST) project to leverage capabilities at the national laboratories to address the technology challenges related to hydrogen refueling stations. Jointly led by Sandia National Laboratories and NREL, H2USA is a strong example of DOE’s efforts to bring national lab capabilities and facilities together to address immediate and mid-term challenges faced by the industry.

Two project task reports have been published:

  • The Reference Station Design report details engineering models and economic analyses of five hydrogen refueling station templates that can meet near-term market needs.  The authors evaluated station economics using HRSAM, and then prepared detailed designs which include piping, instrumentation, and bills of materials.  These references are meant to help stakeholders evaluate station configurations and to encourage standardization of station components. H2USA’s Hydrogen Fueling Station Working Group and industry stakeholders peer reviewed the report and provided feedback. The report is available here:
  • The Hydrogen Contaminant Detection Report describes the current commercial state of the art technologies in contamination detection. It also identifies primary requirements for implementing a hydrogen detection device at a station and provides a gap analysis. The report is available at:

These tools and reports will identify and accelerate near-term solutions that will help industry address the challenges of hydrogen infrastructure.  Learn more about the Energy Department’s fuel cell activities.

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