SERC has recently received a Caltrans grant to increase the delivery pressure capacity of the HSU hydrogen fueling station. Currently the station stores hydrogen gas at 420 bar (6,000 pounds per square inch), and can fill a vehicle’s tank to 350 bar (5,000 psi). The upgrade will allow for fueling up to 700 bar (10,000 psi). Newer fuel cell vehicles, such as the Toyota FCHV-adv currently on loan at HSU from UC Berkeley, have storage tanks rated for 700 bar storage, which almost doubles the amount of hydrogen that can be stored onboard.
To get to hydrogen gas at 700 bar, an additional compressor will take hydrogen gas from storage at 420 bar and compress it directly into the vehicle’s tank to 700 bar. This so called “slow-fill” method will eliminate the need for expensive new storage vessels. There will also be a dedicated 700 bar dispenser located inside HSU’s Plant Operations corporation yard. Operation of the current 350 bar dispenser will remain unchanged. The high-pressure fill will increase the Toyota Highlander’s driving range from 200 miles with a 350 bar fill to 400 miles with a 700 bar fill. This will enable the vehicle to drive from Arcata to other high-pressure fueling stations in Sacramento and the Bay Area, linking Arcata to the rest of California’s Hydrogen Highway.