EVermont Renewable Hydrogen Production and Transportation Fueling System [report]

Harold Garabedian, Gregory Wight, Ken Dreier, Nicholas Borland
2008 unpublished
Executive Summary Transportation is essential to society, yet current transportation-related technologies contribute to many of our health and environmental threats, and the fuels used are finite in nature. The sustainability of transportation depends on the technologies that provide mobility and the fuels that power those technologies. One step toward sustainable transportation may be hydrogen produced from clean renewable resources. For environmental, economic and energy security reasons, the
more » ... United States needs to move from being a society that derives over 96% of its transportation energy from one finite fuel, to a being a nation with a more diverse transportation energy portfolio. Renewable forms of energy need to be part of that portfolio. One fuel in that portfolio could be hydrogen. However, for hydrogen to deliver on its promise of being clean and sustainable, how the fuel is made" and what technologies are developed for its use, are critical issues. There are two parts to delivering a hydrogen economy -infrastructure providing the fuel and the technology to use the fuel. And given the complexities of these choices and issues, an educated populace is essential to achieving sustainable transportation energy. The objectives of the EVermont Renewable Hydrogen Production and Fueling System project were (1) to develop advanced PEM electrolysis fueling technology, (2) to build and test a validation system in Vermont -a cold northern climate of rural settlement patterns -which uses renewable electricity from wind and is capable of providing hydrogen fuel to vehicles, and (3) to procure, operate and maintain a hydrogen fueled vehicle for testing and validation of the station. All elements of these objectives were achieved. This project documents the measures necessary to design and operate a self-contained hydrogen generation station for vehicle fueling in a cold northern climate. Prior to this project, forecourt hydrogen stations were limited to warm southern climates. While the basic principles of electrolysis remain the same regardless of location, many design issues had to be overcome to create a station that functions reliably in all weather conditions, from below -20 O C to over 30 O C. It is essential to have operational transparency throughout the country, in all climatic regimes, for hydrogen to merit consideration as a transportation fuel. Further, through the vehicle deployed in this project, it has been demonstrated that hydrogen as a compressed gas motor fuel can displace gasoline and replace it with a renewable form of energy that produces no carbon emissions and uses technology that is extremely cost-effective. Through this project, many publics were engaged on the issue of transportation/energy/sustainability/environment and were offered a vision of a possible future -de-centralized clean sustainable transportation energy from renewable sources of energy. This completed project documents and provides the technical justification for policies that would benefit the public through a cleaner and healthier environment, more secure energy future and more sustainable economic investments. Successful forecourt hydrogen production -and utilization of that hydrogen as a motor fuel -enables a public policy of having small centrally fueled fleets of vehicles convert (either through regulation or through incentives) to this model of operation. This would be a logical next step as part of an overall plan to see Project Objectives: Develop advanced PEM electrolysis fueling station technology Build and test a validation system in Vermont that utilizes renewable electricity and is capable of providing hydrogen fuel to vehicles Procure a hydrogen fueled vehicle for testing and validation of the station/system Abstract A great deal of research funding is being devoted to the use of hydrogen for transportation fuel, particularly in the development of fuel cell vehicles. When this research bears fruit in the form of consumer-ready vehicles, will the fueling infrastructure be ready? Will the required fueling systems work in cold climates as well as they do in warm areas? Will we be sure that production of hydrogen as the energy carrier of choice for our transit system is the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly option? Will consumers understand this fuel and how to handle it? Those are questions addressed by the EVermont Wind to Wheels Hydrogen Project: Sustainable Transportation. The hydrogen fueling infrastructure consists of three primary subcomponents: a hydrogen generator (electrolyzer), a compression and storage system, and a dispenser. The generated fuel is then used to provide transportation as a motor fuel. EVermont Inc., started in 1993 by then governor Howard Dean, is a public-private partnership of entities interested in documenting and advancing the performance of advanced technology vehicles that are sustainable and less burdensome on the environment, especially in areas of cold climates, hilly terrain and with rural settlement patterns. EVermont has developed a demonstration wind powered hydrogen fuel producing filling system that uses electrolysis, compression to 5000 psi and a hydrogen burning vehicle that functions reliably in cold climates. And that fuel is then used to meet transportation needs in a hybrid electric vehicle whose internal combustion engine has been converted to operate on hydrogen Sponsored by the DOE EERE Hydrogen, Fuel Cells & Infrastructure Technologies (HFC&IT) Program, the purpose of the project is to test the viability of sustainably produced hydrogen for use as a transportation fuel in a cold climate with hilly terrain and rural settlement patterns. Specifically, the project addresses the challenge of building a renewable transportation energy capable system. The prime energy for this project comes from an agreement with a wind turbine operator.
doi:10.2172/926267 fatcat:juqw2ofj3jfexc6fvgonymsyey