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Jacob Leachman Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) Laboratory

Cool. Fuel.

Cool. Fuel.

The only cryogenic hydrogen research laboratory in US academia.

Innovating electrofuels since 2010.

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Cryogenic Origami Bellows

Imagine the challenge of storing and reliably dispensing fuel at -421°F, the temperature of liquid hydrogen. Go one step further — try it in microgravity. Not hard enough? If a vapor bubble leaves the bottom of the tank you’ll explode the turbo of your engine.

Leidenfrost Dusting

Breakthrough innovations in spacesuit cleaning technology using liquid nitrogen. The Leidenfrost Effect has proven to remove lunar dust, making it a promising procedure in future long-term moon travel.


The first liquid hydrogen fueled drone by a University. Fourteen flights proved the airframe, electric propulsion, and guidance systems were working beautifully, and extensive ground testing and characterization of the hydrogen systems showed the fuel cell hydrogen powertrain was up to the task.

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Interested in helping the lab? The HYPER Lab appreciates new partners for projects, on-campus work, and facility use. Get involved today.

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Featured posts

  • Reflections on a decade of leadership in HYPER and the path forward

    I was recently asked to reflect on HYPER leadership since founding in 2010: What was I trying? What was working? What was not working? What do I plan to change coming back from professional leave into a new lab building? Emphasis on leadership and “NOT VISION”.

    What was I trying?

    It’s easy to look back on past leadership with a bias perspective, so here is the post from 2015 and updated in 2020 with my thoughts on leadership: Quite simply, I’m leading HYPER to develop the future technologies and professionals in clean cryogenic hydrogen. Many can say this. How is the key.

    To … » More …

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  • Lunar Dust and Dolls: Developing a Technological Breakthrough in Interstellar Fashion

    The Moon, an ashen Sahara marked with impact craters. As we look to the skies and observe the bright face of this celestial body, we marvel at the feats of engineering and perseverance that landed the first humans on its surface.


    Images of astronauts fumbling around as they struggle to function in lunar gravity sometimes resemble that of children playing in a sandpit, serving as evidence of success in Apollo 11’s primary objective: perform a crewed lunar landing and return to Earth. However, the face of the Moon is no playground and certainly not as innocuous as a child’s sandbox. In fact, it … » More …

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  • What I look for in new recruits

    What I look for in new recruits is a different question from How to Get Brilliant Students (spoiler: you make them). The irony is that I really wasn’t recruited much at all into the academy. I’ve never been taught how to recruit. Yet, over the years we’ve developed a system for recruitment and talent development that’s worth sharing. By the end of this post you’ll understand the structure of the HYPER lab culture, how we recruit as a community to develop top talent, how we cultivate drive to achieve, and what we look for in new recruits.

    How I wasn’t recruited

    Anyone who’s read … » More …

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  • Bias and green vs blue hydrogen

    This is a preprint from my column ‘Cool Fuel’ in Cold Facts Magazine by the Cryogenic Society of America.

    I was ready to write to you about the awesome green beauty of a 454.6 nm argon laser and what it does to the hydrogen molecule when a friend sent me an article from the New York Times by Hiroko Tabuchi, “For many hydrogen is the fuel of the future. New research raises doubts.” The article is ‘based’ on a recent journal publication, “How green is blue hydrogen” by Robert Howarth and Mark Jacobson who are researchers at Cornell and Stanford Universities. As … » More …

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  • The hydrogen fueled farm of the future

    Authors: Charles (Chase) Phillips and Jacob Leachman


    On Labor Day in 2020 a series of fires struck Whitman County in Washington State. Some of the fires were started by agricultural equipment during harvest, and others were sparked by electrical power lines. In a matter of minutes one fire destroyed 80% of the homes in the community of Malden.[i] The 2021 fire season is even worse. We saw conditions through the month of July that … » More …

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  • Leaving things for the better

    Today I begin professional leave to pursue a moonshot: a paradigm changing concept for hydrogen cooling and liquefaction.  Faculty are eligible for leave every six years, this is my 11th year at WSU and will be my first leave. The purpose of leave is to allow for intense focus and re-training. With many state and federal programs starting to show interest in liquid hydrogen the timing couldn’t be better. With 30 people in the lab and a big move to a new building underway the timing couldn’t be worse. Regardless, we have a very important year ahead.

    It is only the second professional leave from … » More …

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  • Designing for Direct Metal Laser Solidification (DMLS) Additive Manufacturing

    Additive manufacturing (AM) has emerged as a viable method for part production. Pieces can be made out of either plastic or metal composites, and this method of production is gaining popularity throughout industry. There are vast opportunities within cryogenics for the use of AM which have yet to be explored. Within HYPER, AM is being used for part manufacture on the Tank, and for a novel heat exchanger for hydrogen liquefaction on MHGU. This post is a guide to designing for AM, with cryogenic applications in mind. It will guide you through steps to save you and your team time, money, and most importantly- sanity.

    » More …

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  • When enough is enough

    Enough: as much or as many as required.

    Things I’ve had enough of:

    Exceptional students,
    Support from the upper administration,
    Original ideas,
    Time and resources to develop those ideas,
    Family support.

    So when folks tell me I’m, “at the top of the list of people that could be poached by another institution”, I can say I’ve had enough of that too. Things are about as good as they can be. Really! Here’s a few from the past year:

    Hydrogen is not just a cool fuel to me these days.
    COVID teaching went as good as it could’ve (literally).<br ... » More …

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  • Sustaining the Media Library


    So you found yourself with extra time—maybe your team is waiting on a part, or you’re just looking to log more hours this week—and you’re not sure what to work on. I have an idea for you… help us finish the big push on cleaning up the media library!

    The media library is the thorn in everyone’s side when it comes to making changes to the website. Since we don’t like thorns here at HYPER, it’s time to do some spring cleaning (or whatever season it might be when you read this). Assigning titles and categories to all the images/videos in the media library … » More …

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  • Growing the future — 3D printing cryogenic heat exchangers

    (This is a pre-print of my May ‘Cool. Fuel.’ article for Cold Facts — the magazine of the Cryogenic Society of America.)

    Back when I was a Ph.D student at Wisconsin the machine that saved many of my days was a Bridgeport manual end mill conveniently located in the basement of the lab. So when I setup the HYPER lab’s manufacturing space at Washington State I found an old Bridgeport clone to place in our manufacturing area. Yes it’s even older now. While it’s still used some for drilling and tapping operations, a new additive manufacturing project led by Jordan Raymond in my lab is … » More …

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