The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Boulder Labs in Colorado recently opened the largest hydrogen test facility in the U. S. for evaluating how component parts of the hydrogen production, distribution and refueling infrastructure will react to H2 gas.
NIST has opened the largest test facility to study the smallest atom, hydrogen, which has only one electron and one proton, making it susceptible to leakage plus metal and alloy embrittlement.
Sure, this isn’t a sexy topic like hydrogen race cars or new technology for fuel cell vehicles. This is more of the nuts and bolts work of figuring out the transporting and delivering of hydrogen which is necessary in order to build out a suitable refueling infrastructure.
According to NIST, “Because hydrogen can penetrate and embrittle some metals and alloys, developing standards for using existing pipelines, storage tanks, pumps and delivery systems is an essential first step before the elemental gas can be considered as a viable fuel for widespread use.
The test chamber (pictured) is one of the largest in the country and will expose different parts to pressurized hydrogen gas. The scientists will gather data on the structural stresses of the components with the ultimate goal of making hydrogen delivery as safe as possible.