Solar Hydrogen Fueling Stations

Solar Hydrogen Fueling Stations – Driving a Car Fueled by Water and Sun

© Photo Fraunhofer ISE

Solar hydrogen fueling station at Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg.

Fraunhofer ISE has been operating a solar hydrogen fueling station in Freiburg since March 2012. The hydrogen is produced on location. The average amount of power required annually for the fueling station is met by the station’s own PV system, thus demonstrating the possibility of sustainable hydrogen production by means of renewable resources. Refueling at 700 bar storage pressure takes three to five minutes. Two fuel cell vehicles are available for research purposes and also serve as company cars. This proves the suitability of this technology for daily use.

The design of the fueling station is based on modular containers. In the electrolysis container, hydrogen is produced and treated using a modern membrane process at 30 bar. Two compressors, the hydrogen pre-cooling unit and the control panel are located in the second container. In the first stage, the hydrogen is compressed to 450 bar and temporarily stored. The gas is compressed to 950 bar and stored in a high-pressure tank for refueling at 700-bar.

Freiburg is an ideal location for a fueling station within the network of hydrogen fueling stations which is currently being established in Baden-Württemberg. With its location in a TEN-T corridor, the station is also an important connection to future European fueling stations in France and Switzerland. The fueling station serves as a research and technology platform in addition to its task of providing hydrogen vehicles with fuel. A number of components were designed so that, among other things, tests on fueling station components as well as R&D projects on demand-side management or from the area of power-to-gas can be carried out. The solar hydrogen fueling station has comprehensive measurement technology for the monitoring. The control panel allows for flexible operation of the facility.