Mobile Hydrogen Generation Unit
MHGU Generation 1
Liquid hydrogen has an almost unfathomable energy to weight ratio that is nearly 10 times that of a lithium ion battery, making it a fuel that is both lightweight and long-lasting, perfect for unmanned aerial vehicles. Our goal is to create a mobile and compact fueling station to harness this energy.
The Mobile Hydrogen Generation unit is a project under development by the WSU HYPER lab to generate, liquefy, and transfer liquid hydrogen to a fuel tank. This project has been in development alongside the lightweight 3D-printed LH2 tank, and is intended to provide a solution for fueling liquid hydrogen powered unmanned aerial vehicles for the U.S. Army. To suit the needs of the U.S. Army, the MHGU must remain compact and air transportable, operable in a large variety of environmental conditions, and mostly autonomous to provide ease of use, while still creating the desired amount of hydrogen fuel. This introduces a whole host of engineering challenges; how do you create a liquid hydrogen fueling station that can be that compact while still performing to the required level of sophistication and accuracy? This is the question that project manager Ian Richardson and his team of more than a dozen undergraduate students hope to solve with their Generation 1 and 2 prototypes.
Table of Contents
Before there was MHGU, there was H2-Flo.
Water filter: Filters water to reduce contaminants, so that it can be sent to the electrolyzer. The white orbs represent the flow of water from the filter.
Electrolyzer: Uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gases. The oxygen is vented, while the hydrogen gas is plumbed into the central control manifold in the back of the container.
Compressor: Cycles helium to and from the cold head. The helium, represented as the purple orbs, acts as a refrigerant and removes heat from the dewar through the cold head, which acts as a heat exchanger. This rejection of heat allows the hydrogen to liquefy and then remain as a liquid in the dewar.
In the back of the container, there is the gas buffer tank, central control manifold, and dewar. You can see the flow of hydrogen represented by the orange orbs.
Vent Stack: Ensures that the system is safe in the event of over pressurization or a hydrogen link in the central control manifold.
Gas detection system: Extends into both the main room and back end of the container which detects whether a significant quantity of gaseous hydrogen has escaped into the room. It will trigger a visual and audible alarm and shutoff the system if the concentration is too high.
MHGU Generation 2
Coming Winter 2020!
HYPER didn’t simply stop at Generation 1- we are currently working on modifications that will make the system more compact, more efficient, and even easier to transport.