As obvious as it may seem, refuelling is a vital aspect of hydrogen mobility and, consequently, the decarbonisation of road transport.
At hydrogen refuelling stations, it is first of all essential to acquire the raw material.
In order to truly decarbonise transport, it is necessary that the hydrogen supplied comes from renewable sources, i.e. is identified as ‘green’. The options for its supply are mainly three:
- receive H₂ green from pressure tanks or similar
- produce H₂ on-site by electrolysis
- use green ammonia, produced by the chemical union of green H₂ and nitrogen that can be easily transported, and then ‘crack’ (split) the ammonia molecule to obtain H₂again.
This is an emerging approach to solving some of the problems associated with hydrogen transport and storage.
How hydrogen filling stations work
Once obtained, the hydrogen is stored in tanks until the vehicle to be refuelled arrives.
Usually, refuelling systems contain high-pressure (500 and 900 bar) cylinders inside them, which are unloaded during the refuelling of an FCEV.
At this stage, the hydrogen passes through a compressor that starts to bring it up to the required pressure, the standard being 700 bar for light vehicles, and 350 bar for heavy vehicles.
Downstream of the compressor, the hydrogen is stored in high-pressure storage systems, with different solutions (single buffer, or multiple storage ‘cascade’) to optimise its use during refuelling.
Only then can it be dispensed from the refuelling pump.
It is important to emphasise that the hose that connects to the vehicle is equipped with an additional safety monitoring device, and that the entire refuelling procedure is regulated by specific standards that guarantee compatibility with vehicles produced by different manufacturers, and above all safety.
A real-life example: hydrogen refuelling stations for bus fleets
Generally speaking,bus fleets are the sector with the highest demand for hydrogen refuelling stations.
It is especially in these cases, in fact, that the investment in environmentally friendly hydrogen refuelling systems pays off most quickly through guaranteed and regular use in transport centres.
Refuelling stations for bus fleets can also be seen as an enabler for the mobility of other FCEVs, which in some cases open up to refuelling private vehicles that would otherwise not have the possibility of refuelling.
As refuelling stations begin to serve an ever-widening range of use cases, the need for multi-purpose refuelling solutions grows.
This is where we at Simplifhy take up the challenge of decarbonising road transport and design and implement complete solutions for the production and use of hydrogen.
Discover all our applications based on hydrogen technology and contact us for more information.