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How to Build a Portable Hydrogen Fueling Station

Hydrogen ChillerThe 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.

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola

I’m a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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  1. Is using H2 wise? It is my understanding that hydrogen is the only element that can acheive escape velocity and leave our atmosphere. We all have seen people spill gasoline at the pumps. I watched as a worker vented a 25lb lpg gas tank in error. He was filling a tank with reverse threads.

    If a person “vents” a little H2 every time they fill their tank, what would be the effect over an extended period of time. Remember that inter-stellar H2 comes from some where. With H2 escaping over time we could have an H2O problem.

  2. admin

    Many manufacturers are already venting hydrogen during their manufacturing process.

    You can see the post here about Canada releasing enough H2 now to power 200,000 hydrogen cars.

    I think as hydrogen becomes more of a valuable commodity, capturing hydrogen will be a more likely scenario than venting it.

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