Honda aims to standardize fast-fill hydrogen fueling protocol

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Honda has developed a hydrogen refueling station on its campus near Los Angeles with the aim of standardizing a hydrogen fueling protocol, the automaker said earlier this week.

The station is available to other automakers to help validate its performance and functionality.

Since the 2002 introduction of the FCX, its first-generation fuel cell vehicle, Honda has made advancements in fuel cell operation in both hot and subfreezing temperatures.

Steve Mathison, senior engineer at Honda R&D Americas, said the new protocol, known as MC Fill, is designed for fuel systems that store hydrogen at a pressure of 700-bar.

The majority of automakers store hydrogen at 700-bar, 10,000 psi, Mathison said.

"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," he said.

More precisely, it "monitors the dispenser outlet temperature and uses this information to calculate the shortest fueling time possible," he said.

Honda introduced its current fuel cell electric vehicle, the FCX Clarity, in 2008 and is preparing for the 2015 introduction of its next-generation fuel cell car.

Automakers have collaborated on openings of public hydrogen stations, such as a Shell station in Torrance, Calif., in 2011, which serves current FCEV customers and offers the current fueling protocol.

Honda has delivered fuel cell vehicles to individual retail consumers in the United States and collected valuable data on fuel cell electric vehicles and hydrogen stations. Honda said the MC Fill will not be available to individual customers until the protocol is recognized as an industrywide standard by the SAE.

"The new technology will serve the next generation of fuel cell electric vehicles, which are not on the road yet," Mathison said.

Honda unveiled the five-passenger FCEV Concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November and expects to launch the new vehicle in the United States and Japan in 2015. It's anticipated that it will have a driving range of more than 300 miles.

You can reach Andrew Thurlow at athurlow@crain.com.


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