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Removal of Grounding Cable from Hydrogen Fueling Process

Article of Honda R&D Technical Review Vol.20 No.1

Summary

Hydrogen, which is used for fuel in fuel cell vehicles, has the characteristic of being easy to ignite. Because of this characteristic, prior to fueling, static electricity from the vehicle body should be dissipated. Industry practice to mitigate this risk has been to connect a grounding cable to the vehicle to remove the static electricity from the vehicle body prior to connection of the fueling nozzle. However, this complex procedure is not user-friendly, nor is it fail safe as it depends on the user to implement.
Our research (1) shows that the maximum grounding resistance that will allow static electricity to be safely dissipated before the fueling nozzle can be connected is 100 MΩ. Two favorable fueling pad surfaces were found to be conductive paint applied on asphalt, and concrete. After application, the separate grounding cable connection is no longer necessary, and as a result, safe and user-friendly fueling is now possible. The practice of grounding through the tires is now being adopted by hydrogen stations, and surface resistance requirements have been written into the latest revisions to the International Code Council (ICC) International Fire Code (IFC).

Reference

(1) Handa, K., Mathison, S., Matsuo, S., : An Introduction of Honda’s H2 Stations and Fueling Without Grounding Cable, Global Powertrain Congress(2005)
(2) Ocean Engineering & Energy Systems: http://www.ocees.com/mainpages/Hydrogen.html(2007)
(3) Pidoll, U. v. :REFUELING AUTOMOBILES WITH HYDROGEN, National Institute for Science and Technology(2000)
(4) Pidoll, U. v.: Avoiding an ignition of Otto-type fuel/air mixtures when refueling automobiles at gas stations, German Scientific Society for oil, natural gas and coal, DGMK Research Report 508(1996)
(5) SAE FCV Safety Working Group : Recommended Practice for General Fuel Cell Vehicle Safety, SAE J2578, Section 4.4.8.4(2002)
(6) ACL Inc. : Staticide Diamond Polyurethane Static Dissipative Floor Coating # 4700, http://www.aclstaticide.com/01/info_pages_ind/product_4700.htm(2007)
(7) International Code Council: 2007 Supplement to International Fire Code, http://www.iccsafe.org/cs/codes/2007-08cycle/2007Supplement/IFC07S.pdf

Author (organization or company)

Steve MATHISON(HONDA R&D AMERICAS, INC.)、Kiyoshi HANDA(Automobile R&D Center)、Shiro MATSUO(Honda Motor Co., Ltd.)

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