HSU Hydrogen Fueling Station Hosts First Hydrogen Fuel Cell Commute from the Bay Area

Anand-refueling

Anand Gopal poses with the Toyota Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle (FCHV-adv) that he drove from the Bay Area.

Anand Gopal, research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs (LBNL) and former Schatz Energy Fellow, and Elizabeth Pimentel-Gopal, former HSU Assistant Director of Admissions, drove from Berkeley to Arcata to visit friends and family over the second weekend of September. Rather than a mundane weekend trip, theirs was a precedent-setting event; their entire trip was powered by hydrogen fuel.

Their trip represents the first time the HSU Hydrogen Fueling Station has been used to fuel a vehicle commuting to and from the Bay Area aside from the vehicles under test at SERC. Filling the Toyota Fuel Cell Hybrid vehicle (FCHV-adv) with hydrogen at 700-bar (10,000 psi) gave the vehicle a range of over 285 miles and enabled Anand and Elizabeth to complete their return trip to one of the nearest hydrogen stations (located in Richmond and Emeryville). For Anand the event was especially meaningful. During his time at SERC, the HSU student team that he advised won an international hydrogen energy design competition in 2005, which inspired the development of the HSU hydrogen station.

Hydrogen Fueling Station Upgrade

SERC engineers have completed the testing phase of the project’s commissioning plan. Two critical and successful steps in the plan were the high pressure testing of the 700 bar dispensing system and hydrogen gas analysis. The gas analysis, performed by two independent laboratories, indicate that the station’s gas quality meets the Hydrogen Fuel Quality for Fuel Cell Vehicles (SAE J2719) requirements set forth by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

The final task for project completion will be the initial 700 bar hydrogen fueling of one of the Toyota FCHV-adv vehicles. Toyota engineers will be on-site to monitor the fueling process and ensure that station operators follow proper vehicle fueling protocols.

Toyota FCHV-adv

The fueling station now serves two Toyota FCHV-adv; the second vehicle, also on loan from UC Berkeley, arrived at SERC in July.