Hickam testing new deployable hydrogen refueling station

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo
  • Air Force Print News
As the Air Force continues to look for ways to reduce energy consumption in its facilities, vehicles and aircraft operations the 15th Airlift Wing will be doing its part by serving as a test bed for a new modular deployable hydrogen refueling station.

Awarded the contract two years ago, HydraFLX Systems LLC is providing their system as a research and development program for the Air Force to evaluate the feasibility of hydrogen refueling on the flight line.

Scheduled to come on line this month the HydraFLX System will generate ultra-pure H2 (hydrogen) from water in a flexible pressure management process for fueling buses, tow-tractors, vans, sedans and ground support equipment. The system can also be deployed anywhere and operate in hostile theaters without infrastructure or pipelines.

"This station is a modular deployable hydrogen refueling station design to be on an Air Force flight line," said Mark Schultz, operations manager for HydraFLX Systems LLC.

"The separate boxes are designed to be airlifted and set up in a remote location in a short period of time and up and running in a day," he said.

With higher standards for clean air and a need for less dependence on foreign oil, interest in alternate fuels has never been greater.

As the largest user of energy in the Department of Defense, the increase of energy costs for the Air Force has significantly impacted the bottom line -- money that would be better spent on the war on terrorism or recapitalizing the aging fleet. Hydrogen is one of the key fuels being considered because it is renewable, abundant, efficient and unlike other alternates it produces no emissions.

"Hydrogen fuel is long established to be a far denser fuel energy then the petrol chemical we are use to," Mr. Shultz said. "It's a clean fuel, it is carbonless and it's abundant. That is what this whole program is about -- using fuel cells for higher efficiency and less environmental impact."