National Nuclear Security Administration

Sandia-developed HyStEP keeps fuel-cell vehicles rolling

November 21, 2016

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Sandia researchers Terry Johnson, left, and Joe Pratt are Sandia’s Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology project leads.

As fuel-cell vehicles – and refueling stations – have become more common, the process for certifying the stations hit a snag. It could take many weeks to several months to test and retest fuel dispensers to calibrate them correctly. Delays can inhibit the construction of effective hydrogen fueling station networks in states like California, which have high demand for the stations.

Then, HyStEP stepped in. Developed by Sandia/California and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Hydrogen Station Equipment Performance device (HyStEP), can simulate fuel cell vehicles electronically to verify station performance and accelerate commissioning to less than one week.

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office funded the creation of HyStEP as part of the Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology project. The HyStEP and other fuel cell electric vehicle technologies are pushing the State of California toward its goals to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut petroleum use, and achieve higher air-quality standards.

Recently, after testing hydrogen fueling stations around Los Angeles, the HyStEP team stopped at Sandia/California for a hardware update before heading to Redwood City, California, to commission a new station. Built inside the bed of a trailer, the device is both mobile and protected from the outside environment.

HyStEP recently won an Outstanding Partnership Award from the Federal Laboratory Commission, highlighting its success in making hydrogen fuel cell technologies more accessible in California.

The device is in high demand and DOE’s national labs are making its design available so companies can replicate it for commercial use.

Here, Pratt and Johnson work on a hardware update for HyStEP at Sandia/California.

HyStEP fits in a small trailer, enabling it to easily travel from station to station.