Yesterday, I talked about the need in Whistler, B. C., Canada for better hydrogen refueling infrastructure in order to save their fuel cell bus program. Today, I would like to talk about a student contest for building drop-in hydrogen fueling stations that could be a solution for Whistler.
The aim of the 2014 Hydrogen Student Design Contest is to challenge undergraduate, graduate and PhD students to build a low-cost, efficient, low maintenance, mobile hydrogen fueling station that can be used by customers who own fuel cell vehicles.
According to the Hydrogen Education Foundation, “Hydrogen fuel suppliers need to be able to react to increasing fueling demand and may be interested in expanding early stations modularly or moving early smaller stations to new start-up markets and rebuilding on early sites. One way to address the problem is the development of low-cost drop-in fueling stations that require minimal set-up, operation and expense to meet the initial demand for fueling in areas that do not have a well-developed hydrogen fueling infrastructure.
“The development of a fueling station module that provides a positive fueling experience while being able to be mass produced could potentially have a game-changing effect on traditional hydrogen fueling station development plans. “
In past years, some of the static hydrogen fueling stations that were built came with a price tag in the $2 – $3 million range. With any luck, the students will hopefully figure out how to slash this price tag while keeping safety standards, reliability and mobility in place.