The Advanced Vehicle Research Center (AVRC) out of Raleigh, North Carolina has teamed up with the North Carolina State University Solar Center to come up with a design and build plan for a portable hydrogen fueling station that is free for the public to use. The development of the hydrogen fueling station plans was funded by the DOE (U. S. Department of Energy).
According to the AVRC, “It can be built on the back of a truck or on a trailer or in a steel cargo container. The portable station can then be hooked up to a water source and grid power and it should produce enough hydrogen to fuel four cars a week. That might not sound like a lot, but how long do you think that it will be before you see four hydrogen powered cars in a week?
“The cost of materials according to the plan bill of materials is about $300,000 (not counting the truck or trailer platform), add about $100,000+ for construction costs and you have your own hydrogen supply. For a university doing research, or for a small fleet testing a hydrogen car or truck, it looks like a pretty good deal. It could also be a low cost alternative to get the ‘hydrogen highway’ started.”
Two weeks ago I had talked about the costs involved in rolling out a hydrogen fueling infrastructure. GM’s Larry Burns estimated that a full hydrogen fueling station akin to a current gasoline station would cost about $2 million each. But, as you can see by the PDF file that I’ve linked to, portable transitional technology may be put in place more quickly and more cheaply than building out full stationary hydrogen fueling stations ever 2 miles.
Portable hydrogen fueling stations such as this located around major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and New York City will give incentives to car manufacturers to keep making hydrogen cars and to those who lease them or test them that fuel will indeed be available. Kudos to the AVRC for releasing these plans free to the public. This is a good first step in devising a clear path towards the building of a cost effective hydrogen highway system.