Browse Publications Technical Papers 1999-01-0529

The Hydrogen Fuel Option for Fuel Cell Vehicle Fleets 1999-01-0529

Hydrogen is the ideal fuel for the proton exchange membrane fuel cells that are being developed for transportation applications. However, since no hydrogen fuel supply infrastructure currently exists, much of the effort in fuel supply for the fuel cell vehicles is directed at developing on-board fuel processors to generate a hydrogen-rich gas from liquid fuels such as methanol and gasoline. The use of pure hydrogen as the fuel significantly simplifies the vehicle design, and provides greater fuel economy and environmental benefits. While on-board processing of liquid fuels may be a good transitional strategy to commercially introduce large numbers of fuel cell personal automobiles in the near term, the advantages of hydrogen and the relative ease with which it can be supplied for centrally fueled vehicles should favor their adoption for fleet applications.
This paper describes the feasibility of building a hydrogen fueling infrastructure based on delivered hydrogen and small scale on-site production of hydrogen at the fuel station. A first of a kind hydrogen fueling station to support regular transit operations of three fuel cell city buses in Chicago was built based on an adaptation of industrial liquid hydrogen pumping technology.


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