||Boehm, Robert F; Sabacky, Bruce; Anderson II, Everett B; Haberman, David; Al-Hassin, Mowafak; He, Xiaoming; Morriseau, Brian
||Hydrogen is an environmentally attractive transportation fuel that has the potential to displace fossil fuels. The Freedom CAR and Freedom FUEL initiatives emphasize the importance of hydrogen as a future transportation fuel. Presently, Las Vegas has one hydrogen fueling station powered by natural gas. However, the use of traditional sources of energy to produce hydrogen does not maximize the benefit. The hydrogen fueling station developed under this grant used electrolysis units and solar energy to produce hydrogen fuel. Water and electricity are furnished to the unit and the output is hydrogen and oxygen.
Three vehicles were converted to utilize the hydrogen produced at the station. The vehicles were all equipped with different types of technologies. The vehicles were used in the day-to-day operation of the Las Vegas Valley Water District and monitoring was performed on efficiency, reliability and maintenance requirements. The research and demonstration utilized for the reconfiguration of these vehicles could lead to new technologies in vehicle development that could make hydrogen-fueled vehicles more cost effective, economical, efficient and more widely used.
In order to advance the development of a hydrogen future in Southern Nevada, project partners recognized a need to bring various entities involved in hydrogen development and deployment together as a means of sharing knowledge and eliminating duplication of efforts. A road-mapping session was held in Las Vegas in June 2006. The Nevada State Energy Office, representatives from DOE, DOE contractors and LANL, NETL, NREL were present. Leadership from the National hydrogen Association Board of Directors also attended. As a result of this session, a roadmap for hydrogen development was created. This roadmap has the ability to become a tool for use by other road-mapping efforts in the hydrogen community. It could also become a standard template for other states or even countries to approach planning for a hydrogen future.
Project partners also conducted a workshop on hydrogen safety and permitting. This provided an opportunity for the various permitting agencies and end users to gather to share experiences and knowledge. As a result of this workshop, the permitting process for the hydrogen filling station on the Las Vegas Valley Water District?s land was done more efficiently and those who would be responsible for the operation were better educated on the safety and reliability of hydrogen production and storage. The lessons learned in permitting the filling station and conducting this workshop provided a basis for future hydrogen projects in the region.
Continuing efforts to increase the working pressure of electrolysis and efficiency have been pursued. Research was also performed on improving the cost, efficiency and durability of Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) hydrogen technology. Research elements focused upon PEM membranes, electrodes/catalysts, membrane-electrode assemblies, seals, bipolar plates, utilization of renewable power, reliability issues, scale, and advanced conversion topics.
Additionally, direct solar-to-hydrogen conversion research to demonstrate stable and efficient photoelectrochemistry (PEC) hydrogen production systems based on a number of optional concepts was performed. Candidate PEC concepts included technical obstacles such as inefficient photocatalysis, inadequate photocurrent due to non-optimal material band gap energies, rapid electron-hole recombination, reduced hole mobility and diminished operational lifetimes of surface materials exposed to electrolytes.
Project Objective 1: Design, build, operate hydrogen filling station
Project Objective 2: Perform research and development for utilizing solar technologies on the hydrogen filling station and convert two utility vehicles for use by the station operators
Project Objective 3: Increase capacity of hydrogen filling station; add additional vehicle; conduct safety workshop; develop a roadmap for hydrogen development; accelerate the development of photovoltaic components
Project Objective 4: Perform research on the Proton Exchange membrane