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Experimental Comparison of Hydrogen Refueling with Directly Pressurized vs. Cascade Method


This paper presents a comparative analysis of two hydrogen station configurations during the refueling process: the conventional “directly pressurized refueling process” and the innovative “cascade refueling process.” The objective of the cascade process is to refuel vehicles without the need for booster compressors. The experiments were conducted at the Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility located at California State University, Los Angeles. In the cascade refueling process, the facility buffer tanks were utilized as high-pressure storage, enabling the refueling operation. Three different scenarios were tested: one involving the cascade refueling process and two involving compressor-driven refueling processes. On average, each refueling event delivered 1.6 kg of hydrogen. Although the cascade refueling process using the high-pressure buffer tanks did not achieve the pressure target, it resulted in a notable improvement in the nozzle outlet temperature trend, reducing it by approximately 8 ◦C. Moreover, the overall hydrogen chiller load for the two directly pressurized refuelings was 66 Wh/kg and 62 Wh/kg, respectively, whereas the cascading process only required 55 Wh/kg. This represents a 20% and 12% reduction in energy consumption compared to the scenarios involving booster compressors during fueling. The observed refueling range of 150–350 bar showed that the cascade process consistently required 12–20% less energy for hydrogen chilling. Additionally, the nozzle outlet temperature demonstrated an approximate 8 ◦C improvement within this pressure range. These findings indicate that further improvements can be expected in the high-pressure region, specifically above 350 bar. This research suggests the potential for significant improvements in the high-pressure range, emphasizing the viability of the cascade refueling process as a promising alternative to the direct compression approach.

Funding source: This research was supported by a U.S. Department of Energy grant (DE-EE0005890) and in part by the National Science Foundation Center for Advancement toward Sustainable Urban Systems with grant number NSF HRD- 2112554. The research was also supported by the grant PON RI 2014-2020 for Innovative Industrial PhD (CUP H25D18000120006 and Code DOT1305040), funded by the European Union and the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR).
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Italy ; United States

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