New Apparatus for Testing Hydrogen Fuel Stations Developed by California Fuel Cell Partnership

The trailer-mounted apparatus can be transported from one station to another to simulate vehicle fueling and record critical data.

(West Sacramento, CA) - As part of its continuing work to promote common interface strategies for hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles, the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) has developed a "Station Testing Apparatus" that the organization's members can use. The trailer-mounted apparatus can be transported from one station to another to simulate vehicle fueling and record critical data.

The new hydrogen Station Testing Apparatus, or STA, was developed through CaFCP's cross-industry InterOperability Team, which is working together to develop common interface guidelines between fuel stations and vehicles. "It is important to clearly define and confirm refueling strategies for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. In this way, the unique properties of hydrogen can be appropriately handled during the refueling process," said team co-leader and DaimlerChrysler senior mechanical engineer Jesse Schneider. "The objective of a 'good' refueling strategy," he added, "is to get the maximum amount of fuel transferred in the shortest amount of time without exceeding critical storage container parameters such as temperature and pressure."

During refueling, hydrogen warms up in the tank due to the heat of compression and other phenomena. The rate of this heating process is dependant on the rate of refueling, the shape and size of the tank, and other factors, which vary among vehicle manufacturers. This complexity creates challenges in trying to identify fill strategies acceptable to different vehicles. The STA offers valuable means to address these challenges.

In order to provide data that evaluates fueling strategy compatibility with all the current vehicle manufacturer's designs, the STA was developed to represent the spectrum of hydrogen tanks on today's hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This spectrum was determined by evaluating the range of tank characteristics under different fill strategies.

The development partner for CaFCP's new test device was the Gas Technology Institute. Other contributors to the STA included hydrogen tank suppliers Dynatek and Quantum. CaFCP has contracted with Quong and Associates, Inc., to own and operate this testing device for its members.

Catherine Dunwoody, CaFCP's executive director, highlighted another current example of CaFCP's work to promote interoperability between hydrogen fueling stations and fuel cell vehicles. "In June, we announced that CaFCP will award incentives for the first fuel-dispensing nozzle manufacturers who demonstrate their equipment meets industry performance standards for hydrogen systems," Dunwoody said. Results of the nozzle incentive program are expected to be announced this fall.

For technical information about the hydrogen station test apparatus, see CaFCP's Website:

About the CaFCP
The California Fuel Cell Partnership is a voluntary, industry-government collaboration to advance a new vehicle and fueling technology that could move the world toward practical and affordable environmental solutions. CaFCP members are demonstrating fuel cell-powered electric vehicles under real day-to-day driving conditions; testing alternative fuels and demonstrating the viability of an alternative fuel infrastructure technology; facilitating the path to commercialization; and increasing public awareness of fuel cell electric vehicles. The CaFCP is working to facilitate placement of up to 300 fuel cell passenger cars and buses on the road by the end of 2007.

The CaFCP -- which started in April 1999 -- includes auto manufacturers (DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen); energy providers (Air Products, BP, ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, Methanex, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Praxair, Proton Energy Systems, Shell Hydrogen, Stuart Energy, and Ztek); technology companies (Ballard Power Systems and UTC Fuel Cells); government agencies (California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, South Coast AQMD, US Department of Energy, US Department of Transportation and US Environmental Protection Agency and Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis); and bus transit agencies (AC Transit, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, and SunLine Transit Agency).

For more information, please contact the CaFCP at: 916-371-2870 or by email:

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