Honda has opened a hydrogen refueling station on its campus near Los Angeles aimed at standardizing a hydrogen fueling protocol. Honda opened the station to other carmakers to help validate its performance and functionality. Since 2002, when it launched its first-generation fuel cell vehicle FCX, Honda has advanced fuel cell operation in both hot and subfreezing temperatures.
According to Steve Mathison, senior engineer at Honda R&D Americas, the new protocol – dubbed as MC Fill -- is designed for fuel systems that store hydrogen at a pressure of 700-bar. He noted that majority of carmakers store hydrogen at 700-bar, 10,000 psi. "The new protocol reduces 700-bar fueling times by up to 45 percent versus comparable fueling protocols and can complete most fills in less than three minutes under normal temperature conditions," Mathison said.
He remarked that the new protocol "monitors the dispenser outlet temperature and uses this information to calculate the shortest fueling time possible."
Honda launched its current fuel cell EV, the FCX Clarity, in 2008 and is getting ready to launch the next-generation fuel cell car for 2014. Carmakers have cooperated on openings of public hydrogen stations, like a Shell station in Torrance, California, that serves current FCEV customers and offers the current fueling protocol.
Honda has delivered fuel cell vehicles to individual retail buyers in the United States and has obtained valuable data on fuel cell EV and hydrogen stations. According to Honda, the MC Fill will not be available to individual customers until the new protocol is recognized by the SAE as an industry standard. "The new technology will serve the next generation of fuel cell electric vehicles, which are not on the road yet," Mathison said.
"In order to meet customer expectations, hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles need driving ranges and fueling times comparable to conventional gasoline vehicles," said Steve Mathison, Senior Engineer at Honda R&D Americas, Inc. "This new fueling protocol will allow FCEV customers everywhere to realize short fueling times over a wide range of temperatures. [source: Honda]