Sandia and industrial gas giant Linde LLC have signed an umbrella cooperative R&D agreement (CRADA) that is expected to accelerate the development of low-carbon energy and industrial technologies, beginning with hydrogen and fuel cells. On December 10, 2014, Linde opened the first-ever, fully certified commercial hydrogen fueling station near Sacramento with support from the California Energy Commission. A recent Sandia study, funded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), determined that 18% of fueling station sites in high-priority areas can readily accept hydrogen fueling systems using existing building codes.

A new agreement between Sandia and Linde LLC will focus on performance-based design approaches to commercial hydrogen fueling stations and may lead to their proliferation. In December, Linde opened this hydrogen fueling station in West Sacramento, the first-ever, fully certified station of its kind. (Photo courtesy of Linde LLC)

A new agreement between Sandia and Linde LLC will focus on performance-based design approaches to commercial hydrogen fueling stations and may lead to their proliferation. In December, Linde opened this hydrogen fueling station in West Sacramento, the first-ever, fully certified station of its kind. (Photo courtesy of Linde LLC)

The first Sandia/Linde CRADA project will be demon­strating a hydrogen fuel station that uses a perform­ance-based design approach allowable under the Na­tional Fire Protection Association hydrogen technolo­gies code, NFPA 2. The project will include support from the DOE. California’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program states that Linde expects to open new fueling stations in late 2015. “Sections of NFPA 2 are typically not utilized by station developers, as they instead have focused more on rigid distance requirements for fuel dispensers, air intakes, tanks, storage equipment and other infrastructure,” explained Sandia risk expert and fire-protection engi­neer Chris LaFleur (in Sandia’s Risk and Reliability Analysis Dept.).

The second project currently taking place under the new CRADA focuses on safety aspects of the NFPA code and entails the modeling of a liquid hydrogen release. “Linde’s business interests in building and operating more hydrogen fueling stations for retail use align perfectly with our research goals aimed at accelerating clean and efficient energy technologies into the marketplace,” said Chris San Marchi (in Sandia’s Hydrogen & Combustion Technology Dept.), lead researcher in Sandia’s hydrogen safety, codes, and standards program.

“With Linde’s help, we’re developing a science-based approach for updating and improving the separation distances requirements for liquid hydrogen storage at fueling stations,” said LaFleur. Previous work only examined separation distances for gaseous hydrogen, she said, so validation experiments will now be done on the liquid model. Sandia’s Combustion Research Facility, for years considered a preeminent facility for studying hydrogen behavior and its effects on materials and engines, is a key element of the research.

H2FIRST LogoThis work is aligned with Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology (H2FIRST), an EERE project established earlier this year, and builds on over a decade of DOE investments in developing meaningful codes and standards to accelerate hydrogen and fuel cell markets in the US.

Read the Sandia news release.