The US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) celebrated Colorado's first 700 bar hydrogen fueling station near Denver this past week. The official dedication ceremony took place October 8 in Golden, about 15 miles outside of Denver proper. The station is the state's first of its kind and will be used for research projects related to hydrogen-refueling infrastructure.

The debut of the 700-bar station coincided with National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day. Why is October 8 celebrated that way, you may ask. Well, because the atomic weight of hydrogen is roughly 1.008 u, for those of you who can't remember back to high school chemistry.

As any hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle enthusiast will attest, there are not many hydrogen stations located away from the US coasts. According to the US Energy Department's website, there are just a dozen public H2 stations: 10 of them are in California, one is in South Carolina and another is in Connecticut. The Colorado station is not open to the public.

The hydrogen refueling infrastructure process is gradually gaining momentum as automakers prepare to start selling more hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to the public. Toyota will start delivering its fuel-cell Mirai model to California dealerships this month. The Japanese automaker started taking orders for them this past July. The model has a 312-mile range on a full tank of hydrogen. That means that some intrepid driver can get from Golden to lovely Casper, Wyoming, with a couple dozen miles to spare, before needing to find another source of fuel. Take a look at NREL's press release below.
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NREL Dedicates Advanced Hydrogen Fueling Station
Ceremony Coincides With National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day
October 8, 2015

The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) today dedicated its 700 bar hydrogen fueling station, the first of its kind in Colorado and in the national lab system, as part of a celebration of National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day.

The fueling station is part of NREL's new Hydrogen Infrastructure Testing and Research Facility (HITRF), where scientists will be able to produce hydrogen through electrolysis, test fuel cell vehicle and infrastructure components and systems, and improve renewable hydrogen production methods. The HITRF will support research and development projects funded by the Energy Department's Fuel Cell Technologies Office in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy as well as industry, government, and university partners.

NREL opened its first hydrogen fueling research station in 2009 at the National Wind Technology Center south of Boulder as part of the Wind-to-Hydrogen project studying renewable hydrogen production through electrolysis. The new HITRF station in Golden builds on that experience and expertise.

The HITRF is a retail-style station in a research setting - enabling demonstration of real-world hydrogen fueling and infrastructure technologies with no disruption to customer service. NREL is using the HITRF to test the hydrogen station equipment performance (HyStEP) device for the Energy Department as part of the Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology project, or H2FIRST, in collaboration with Sandia National Laboratories. The HyStEP device is intended to accelerate commercial hydrogen station acceptance by validating that the station can follow standard protocols for safe hydrogen fueling. The data generated by the device will be shared with all car manufacturers, instead of each company having to separately validate a station's performance.

"It's a significant cost and time savings for car companies," said Keith Wipke, manager of NREL's Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies program. "Customers can start using a new station within a week after it opens instead of six to 10 weeks as each company does its own testing. That's a major improvement."

October 8 was chosen as National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day because the atomic weight of hydrogen is 1.008.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

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