You can't have hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles without places to refuel them.
In preparation for the launch of its 2015 fuel-cell car, Honda has opened a new high-pressure hydrogen fueling station at its Torrance, California, research facility.
The station uses a new fueling process developed by Honda called MC Fill, which the Japanese automaker hopes to make the industry standard.
Honda hydrogen fueling station in Torrance, California.
According to Honda, the "M" in MC Fill stands for "mass," while the "C" stands for "specific heat"--two values in a heat transfer equation that governs the process.
The system--which operates at 10,000 psi--can absorb heat generated during filling, and monitor dispenser outlet temperature to make changes in fuel flow on the fly, Honda says.
The ability to more precisely regulate temperature will translate into faster refueling times, according to the company.
Honda says refueling time can be cut by almost half compared to similar systems. Average refueling time with MC Fill, the company says, should be around 3 minutes under normal temperature conditions.
Honda also hopes that MC Fill will become the standard for hydrogen fueling stations. It plans to use the Torrance station to test the system's capabilities under real-world conditions before it launches a production fuel-cell car based on the FCEV concept in 2015.
It will also make the fueling station available for evaluation by other automakers. In the near term, those would be Toyota and Hyundai, both of whom will offer hydrogen-powered vehicles within the next two years.
The Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell will be offered in California starting this spring or summer; the Korean automaker too is updating a hydrogen fueling station at its facility in Chino to meet anticipated demand.
Toyota will launch its own car within 18 months, based on the most recent FCV concept.
Today, only 10 public hydrogen fueling stations exist in the U.S., nine of them in California. The state legislature approved funding for at least 100 more late last year.