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Date: April 27, 2004

UVic Students develop winning hydrogen fuelling station design

The ability to fuel your car along the hydrogen highway may be closer than you think. A team of University of Victoria business, economics and engineering students has won the grand prize in the first annual University Student Hydrogen Design Contest for its design of a hydrogen fueling station that could conceivably open by March 2006. Sponsored by the U.S.-based National Hydrogen Association (NHA) and the U.S. Department of Energy, the winners of the international contest were announced today at the NHA’s 15th Annual Hydrogen Conference and Hydrogen Expo USA in Los Angeles, California.

The nine-member multidisciplinary UVic team, seven of whom are members of UVic’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems (IESVic), spent two months on their design which involves storing liquid hydrogen in elevated storage containers and vaporizing it to a low temperature of -20∞ C to allow for a relatively quick four-minute fuel-up. Reducing the costs of fueling a vehicle with hydrogen is vital to making it commercially viable. Apart from technical design and safety analysis, the design was also judged on economic viability, environmental performance and the team’s plans for marketing and education.

“This is a very big accomplishment for the team given the tremendous amount of attention hydrogen technologies are receiving by the research communities throughout North America,” says Dr. Andrew Rowe, a mechanical engineering professor and member of IESVic. Rowe also advises the team of John Dikeos, Jordan Haas, Jesse Maddaloni, Tom Owen, Tara Smolak, Pedrum Sodouri, Louise St. Germain, Ron Songprakorp and Armando Tura.

According to the team’s report, the overall well-to-wheel pathway of the hydrogen fueling process generates up to 95 percent less greenhouse gas emissions and requires up to 42 percent less energy than the conventional gasoline pathway. The design for the Vancouver, B.C. site requires a low capital investment and uses components readily available from a proven supplier base.

Tom Owen, a mechanical engineering graduate, emphasizes that appearance was also an important part of the design. “We didn’t want the station to look like a scary industrial site. We wanted a station that, while safe and innovative, was user-friendly and decent to look at.”

For teammate Jordan Haas winning the competition was a great introduction to the hydrogen industry. “It brings attention to IESVic and the research we do in sustainable energy.”

Media contacts:
To download the full proposal and graphics go to www.h2fuelstation.com

Dr. Rowe and the design team will be attending the NHA’s 15th Annual Hydrogen Conference from April 26 to 30 in Los Angeles. He can be reached at 619-885-0553 from April 27-30.

Dr. Ned Djilali (IESVic) at (250) 721-6034 or ndjilali@uvic.ca
Dr. Andrew Rowe (IESVic) at (250) 721-8920 after April 30, or arowe@me.uvic.ca
Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at (250) 721-7654 or ppitts@uvic.ca

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

(image: fern)