The fueling experience for an FCEV will be very similar to a conventional or natural gas vehicle. An FCEV can be filled with hydrogen in as little as three minutes. At present, fueling infrastructure is very limited; most stations are in California and exist as part of government-assisted research projects. California recently announced $46 million to deploy hydrogen fueling infrastructure throughout select markets that will exemplify a modernized hydrogen fueling network designed to fuel commercial adoption of FCEVs (Source).
There are many components in a hydrogen fueling station, but three essential elements are: compressors; cryogenic, compressed storage tanks; and dispensers. A primary characteristic of a hydrogen fueling facility are high pressure tanks needed to store and dispense the fuel (Source). Since FCEVs store hydrogen at pressures of up to 10,000 psi, the compressors, storage tanks, and dispensers need to be designed and manufactured to handle those pressures safely and effectively. 10,000 psi is the highest pressure of any alternative fuel, with compressed natural gas as the next most pressurized fuel at 3,600 psi. This is one of the factors contributing to the high cost of building hydrogen infrastructure, but when built in economies of scale, the project costs lower substantially (Source). For further information on fueling, delivery, storage, and fuel cells, visit the Department of Energy’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program.
The only hydrogen fueling station in Colorado is located at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Wind Test Site outside of Golden, CO. A second fueling station will come online in late summer 2014 at NREL’s main facility in Golden. , Both stations are currently used for research purposes and are not open to the public.