Honda R&D Americas is getting ready for the 2015 introduction of its fuel cell-electric vehicle (FCEV) by installing a hydrogen refueling station on its Torrance, Calif. campus.
Honda said this station will serve as a platform for demonstrating and validating the enhanced hydrogen fueling protocol developed by Honda, named the MC Fill. With the aim of standardizing this new protocol, Honda explained it will make the new research station available to other automakers to further validate the MC Fill protocol’s performance and functionality.
The MC Fill fast-fill protocol is designed for fuel systems that store hydrogen at a pressure of 700 bar (70MPa or 10,000 psi). Honda stated this new fueling protocol reduces 700-bar fueling times by up to 45 percent versus comparable fueling protocols, and can complete most fills in less than three minutes under normal temperature conditions.
The MC Fill more precisely monitors the dispenser outlet temperature and uses this information to calculate the shortest fueling time possible, declared Honda. On top of providing shorter fueling times, MC Fill allows the dispenser to continuously adjust to current temperature and other conditions which normally affect the refueling time.
The name MC Fill has nothing to do with the popular golden arches hamburger provider. Honda explained the MC Fill name is derived from two key values in a heat transfer equation—”M” for mass and “C” for specific heat—and the name refers to the heat capacity of the hydrogen storage system and represents the capability of the system to absorb the heat that is generated during fueling. The MC Fill protocol utilizes this value, as well as the dispenser outlet gas temperature and pressure, in its fill control logic.
“In order to meet customer expectations, hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles need driving ranges and fueling times comparable to conventional gasoline vehicles,” said Steve Mathison, Senior Engineer at Honda R&D Americas, Inc. “This new fueling protocol will allow FCEV customers everywhere to realize short fueling times over a wide range of temperatures.”
Honda launched its current fuel cell-electric vehicle, the FCX Clarity, in July 2008.
In November 2013, the new Honda FCEV Concept debuted at the Los Angeles International Auto Show, leading to an all-new Honda fuel cell car launching in the U.S. and Japan in 2015 and later in Europe.
Honda said its next-generation fuel cell-electric vehicle will feature a fuel cell powertrain packaged completely in the engine room of the vehicle, allowing for efficiencies in cabin space as well as flexibility in the potential application of FC technology to multiple vehicle types in the future.
Honda anticipates the next-generation Honda FCEV to have a driving range of more than 300 miles.