Infrastructure 2020-04-01T19:29:52+00:00

Developing Reliable, Low-Cost Hydrogen Infrastructure

The Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology Project (H2FIRST) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) project initiated in 2015 and executed by Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. For the wide-spread adoption of FCEVs, additional fueling stations need to be constructed in the U.S., especially in dense urban areas where hydrogen demand is high but space for fueling stations is limited.

The first H2FIRST reference station report provides publicly accessible component needs, layouts, economic analyses, and more for gaseous and liquid stations from 100-300 kg/day of dispensed hydrogen design capacity. In that work, the H2FIRST team screened 160 different station permutations and down-selected to four near-term station designs that were economically favorable, and one future station. The station with the lowest cost hydrogen had a 200 kg/day capacity with hydrogen delivered as a gas.  The report provides thorough designs of the economically favorable stations, with bills of materials, layouts on greenfields and co-located with gasoline stations, and piping and instrumentation diagrams.

The second reference station report builds on the first reference station work by providing designs and economic analyses of modular stations and stations utilizing on-site hydrogen generation via electrolysis or steam-methane reforming. It also includes a traditional design from the first reference station report to enable equal comparisons between all station types in the two works.  This report details the economics of building and operating a fueling station, finding that the largest modular station (300 kg/day) with delivered hydrogen would have the lowest installed cost and lowest cost hydrogen.

The third reference station report describes research challenges and provides insight to enable near-term (<5 years) hydrogen fueling station rollout in urban areas, with a capacity of 600 kg/day. The report details fire code requirements, provides assessment of the hazards/risks associated with fueling stations designed according to the fire code, compares footprints to future code compliant stations, describes the impact of delivery on station layout and the potential for new delivery methods, and provides analyses on the benefits/drawbacks of building vertically (rooftop/underground). Additionally, this effort establishes high-priority research and development needs, such as revisions to the fire code or technology improvements. These designs and analyses help address the DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) target of reducing the footprint of liquid stations by 40% by 2022, relative to a 2016 baseline.

In general, these reports provide public documentation of station equipment along with generic designs and costs, enabling station design discussions by various stakeholders including station developers/operators, local authorities having jurisdiction, code developers, businesses/entrepreneurs, research and development organizations, local municipalities, funding and financing organizations, and the general public. The reference station projects have helped to identify research and development needs relating to hydrogen refueling stations.


  H2FIRST Reference Station Design Task, Project Deliverable 2-2 by Joseph Pratt, Danny Terlip, Chris Ainscough, Jennifer Kurtz, and Amgad Elgowainy. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, April 2015. NREL/TP-5400-64107
Comparison of conventional vs. modular hydrogen refueling stations, and on-site production vs. delivery by Ethan S. Hecht and Joseph Pratt. Sandia National Laboratories, March 2017. SAND2017-2832
Hydrogen Refueling Reference Station Lot Size Analysis for Urban Sites by Brian D. Ehrhart, Gabriela Bran Anleu, Ethan Sena, Alice B. Muna, Dongmei Ye, Ethan S. Hecht, Carl Rivkin. Sandia National Laboratories, March 2020. SAND2020-2796