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Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) Lab Container Team


From left to right: Kevin Mosley – Tim Pizzino – Mario Reillo – Nolan Beal – Scott Bredberg

We are all senior mechanical engineering students at Washington State University

Think outside the box by staying inside the box!

Our method of using shipping containers to house our hydrogen fueling station lends a new level of modularity to the hydrogen fueling world that has never been seen before. This modularity will give us the unmatched ability to drag and drop our fueling stations to many location based on customer needs or desires. By evolving the concept of what a mobile hydrogen station can be, we have created a paradigm shift in the modularity and mobility of hydrogen fueling.

The following are the necessary and wanted requirements the container will need to meet in order for our system to be successful.


  • Fit all necessary components
  • Securely mount all components in place for transport
  • Meet necessary power components
  • Be able to transport to competition location and any permanent location
  • Meet all DOT regulations
  • Meet all regulations for the shielding for a hydrogen liquefaction system
  • protect the container from both weather and trespassers



  • Provide exterior lighting for the out side of the container
  • Cosmetically look like a fueling station
  • Be securely mounted in a permanent location
  • Act as a training tool for first responders



Types of Containers Available

Standard Steel Container

  • Double doors on each end, or doors over the entire length of one side
  • Very in sizes from 10ft to 53ft in length, standard sizes being 20ft and 40ft and heights of 8ft
  • Easy to repair
  • susceptible to corrosion

Ventilated Containers

  • Base of a Steel Container
  • Ventilation slots in the top and bottom of the side rails
  • Opening do not allow rain or spray to enter the container

Insulated and Refrigerated Containers

  • Mainly available in 20ft and 40ft length sizes
  • Contains an integral refrigeration system
  • Ensures circulation of cold air
  • Insulated for maximum efficiency

Hard Top Container

  • Made of corrugated steel and available at all standard sizes
  • Roof and end of the container are removable

Bulk Containers

  • Contains roof hatches for loading
  • made for holding bulk cargo such as biomass/food stuffs
  • Equipped with forklift pockets for lifting



Design Specification

Container Option Specifications

The chart below shows the comparison between the measurable qualities of the containers to find which aspects are important to the selection of the correct unit. The left hand horizontal column shows the requirements we need to meet as set by the competition and customer. The vertical column shows the measurable characteristics of containers that will help to meet these requirements. Then the primary use of this tool can be shown in the central area where the horizontal and vertical columns are combined to show the relationships between each of the different characteristics. Using this tool we were able to determine which characteristics of a container are best suited to meet the requirements of the task and will continually help us choose three different containers which will act as viable options, they are profiled below.

Pasted image at 2015_12_09 01_51 PM

The standard steel container and the insulated container rate the highest when all aspects are compared.

 Needed Modifications:

The following modification have been determined to be necessary to meet the requirements of the container.

Exterior Paint:

Flat white painted exterior to allow for the easy addition of logos and sponsorship. (Done By Dry Box)

Spark Proof Vents:

Two standard vent holes in the roof of the container to circulate air flow through the box. (Done By Dry Box)

Flat Steel Flooring:

Sheet of one eight inch steel covering the container floor installed on supports. (Done by us)


The insulation will consist of dry wall hung on the inside of the container over the courrigation with an insulating foam filling the gap between the two. (Done by us)

Roll Up Door:

A 4 foot roll up door will be placed on the end of the long side of the container and will house the user interface and pump (Done by Dry Box)





These two options best meet our needs and were the two highest scoring options from our chart above so we compared them further.


Standard corrugated 20’ Steel Shipping Container:

• Voluminous (~2400 cubic feet)
• Low initial Investment
• High load capacity
• Portable using current transportation network
• Highly modifiable

Insulated/Refrigerated Shipping Container:

• Voluminous (~2000 cubic feet)
• Interior Lighting/Remote Monitoring
• High load capacity
• Insulated
• Temperature controlled


Standard corrugated 20’ Steel Shipping Container:

• “Blank Slate”
• Requires extensive retrofitting
• Lacks insulation or ventilation

Insulated/Refrigerated Shipping Container:

• Retrofitting may be necessary
• External Power Required

Current Recommendation 

We are recommending the standard steel corrugated 20′ shipping container. We believe that based on the analysis of the current options this particular configuration would best fit our needs for a container that will hold all of the individual subsystems. This container option will require all shielding and fire protection to be retrofitted but we believe that it currently represents the best option to begin the building of our H2 Refuel Station.

We have chosen to order this container from Dry Box USA. This container will painted flat white and shall include the modifications of one roll up door on the side of the container to house the user interface, also two 3ftx3ft viewing windows will be installed for the purpose of educational demos of the inner workings of the system and lastly 2 spark proof vents will be installed into the roof of the container.

spill 2



Initial Cost:

  • $2450 for container
  • $1000 paint
  • $1150 for roll up door
  • $1000 windows
  • $1725 steel flooring
  • $700 tax

Total = $7850

Annual maintenance cost:

Shipping costs roughly $1150 per trip X times moved in a year (assuming moved twice)

other maintenance is difficult to foresee, container itself should last longer than ten years without needing to be replaced

Amount that needs to be set aside right now: $10,150


Though much tribulation we believe that we have chosen and designed the most effective container type and features to not only meet the needs of the hydrogen system but also address many of the expected issues we will encounter upon operation, and we have done in inside the scope of our budget. When completed, this container will not only be able to act as a proper housing for the fueling station but will also act as a fully operational educational model for first responders and other safety personnel to use to train them for how to handle an emergency situation at a hydrogen station. This will be extremely valuable as hydrogen fueling stations become more common and the need grows to ensure the safety of the people.

Washington State University