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Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) Laboratory Cool. Fuel.

The Fabulous 8 of 2015

During the summer of 2015, a team of 8 accomplished the improbable…

On May 11th, 2015 at 3:00 pm a team of 8 took on the task of creating a lab space ideal for the research and development of small-modular hydrogen liquefaction. The space (photos seen below) was to accomplish three primary goals: provide an area ideal for experimentation and research, encourage heuristic thinking in order to overcome any challenge that may arise, and promote the air of professionalism necessary to accomplish something new. With these goals always in sight the process to accomplish them began.


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The Road to Success

The images below show what every project build needs in order to succeed, a space capable of supporting it. After three and a half months of overcoming challenges and putting in a lot of hard work as both individuals, and a team, a space capable of success has been created. Parts have been unpacked and organized, a library set up with relevant text, projectors set up, meeting space created, the list is endless. A space where experiments can run safely and parts can be fabricated was created. A multipurpose area friendly to both professional presentations/meetings, and group lounging/brainstorming had been created. In this space the atmosphere is one where ideas can be created, problems solved, and every individual can be comfortable as part of the larger group.

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Meet The Team


P1030984-198x198Name: Kevin Cavender

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Year: Senior

The first day of this summer TFRB 113 was a glorified jungle gym. Every step was an engineer’s ball pit, every step was surrounded by small steel parts! Filled with everything from Ball valves to Drill Presses we have come a long way since then. One by one the junk went out and the parts and pieces came together to make it a space where we really can design and build the first hydrogen fueling station in Washington State!
My experience in TFRB involved computer systems, composites, and computer programing for the system model of the liquefier. The space is wired with Ethernet for faster internet access, and the access to research computers for simulation and storage which were designed and built last semester. The Projectors in the space can be controlled at a central input hub. We now have an 8 foot carbon fiber topped conference table which presented a few challenges in large surface composite layups. Finally I gained a lot by taking the system model code for the liquefier and matching it to a diagram, modifying to optimize it and making it easier to understand. This will help give us specification ranges for components.




senior pictures 014Name: Katlyn Struxness

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Year: Senior

This summer I had an amazing opportunity to help make hydrogen the fuel of the future for Washington State. I had some knowledge of hydrogen and cryogenics prior to joining the H2refuel team but I was able to learn more about para and ortho hydrogen and how this unique aspect of hydrogen helps our system’s design be one of the most innovative that is seen today.
My major contributions to the team were making our space usable and safe. I am also apart of aerospace club, where I am the safety officer, so I used those skills to create a safety station for the lab space. The most important part of this experience for me is the  collaboration between different disciplines. Usually I always work with mechanical engineers, but this summer I also had the pleasure of working with chemical and electrical engineers as well as a communications major.
I am very thankful for this hands on experience and I hope that moving forward with our hydrogen refueling station can make hydrogen the fuel of the future.




andrewraubpicture_360Name: Andrew Raub

Major: Chemical Engineering

Year: Junior

Working in the Thermal Fluids Research Building (TFRB) over summer 2015 has proven to be one of the most enjoyable and practical experiences that I have encountered to date. Throughout the “TFRB remodel” (as some of us like to call it) we held meetings, took personal responsibility to oversee larger tasks to completion, and worked as a team to help each other complete set goals. In addition, we encountered opportunities in which we were able to interface with outside groups such as the machine shops on our campus, Environmental Health & Safety, the purchasing office, and more. I hold the view that my time spent in TFRB this summer was akin to an excellent immersion course in setting goals, communicating with the right people to achieve those goals, and working together to actually accomplish tasks in a real-world setting.

Thanks everybody for your help with all the sweeping, shuffling, vacuuming, dusting, planning, preparing, fabricating, purchasing, lifting, installing, encouraging, motivating, joking, smiling, and the long list of other activities that were necessary to make TFRB a usable workspace. I’m excited to see what the not-too-distant future holds for TFRB and our hydrogen liquefaction project.



Name: Matt Fluster

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Year: Senior

Hydrogen is the fuel of the future. However before that will happen advances in its production, use and marketing must be made. I was fortunate to spend the summer as part of a team at WSU in the early stages of designing a hydrogen liquefaction system, a key step in making hydrogen an economically viable energy source. My role this summer was twofold, to help convert a derelict workspace into a functioning design and production facility and to assist in the initial evaluation of possible liquefactions systems.

As a building “retro-fitter” we faced major challenges in terms of what we were allowed to do within school maintenance guidelines and budget. The daily challenge was repurposing both space and materials. To this end I helped design and implement ventilation and audio visual systems using almost exclusively discarded ductwork, fittings, and electrical equipment and establishing meeting spaces by re-cutting and mounting old whiteboards, blackboards, and shelving.

Prior to this summer I had little knowledge about the potential promise of hydrogen. As I learned more about the role hydrogen could play in worldwide climate concerns as well as local energy needs, I appreciated the value of my recent studies in thermodynamics and the value these theoretical skills play in the design and optimization of utility systems. This summer’s initial analysis of our own unique catalytic, vortex-tube based, hydrogen liquefaction cycle was my introduction to EES and computerized modeling of dynamic systems.

I will graduate this December with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from WSU, and it was this summer experience, both as a hands-on recycler and theoretical modeler, which has best prepared me for my own future.



401157_543023142410591_959146565_nName: Steven Bell

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Year: Senior

Being a part of the team this summer has been one of the best experiences of my life. Going from a group of strangers to a functioning unit capable of anything is always an eye opening and amazing experience. We acknowledged challenges, came up with a plan, and overcame what needed to be overcome in order to achieve our goals.

Through the team I was able to break out of my comfort zone and acquire new skills, whether it be contacting companies to receive quotes and parts, wiring the outlets for a conference table, helping with a carbon fiber layout, sorting and organizing parts, creating system flow diagrams, formatting and updating the website, and so on. I was given the chance to be a part of something big, something that can change the world in really cool ways. I would like to thank everybody who helped make this an experience of a lifetime, everything I learned with you will stick with me for the rest of my life and I look forward to the opportunity to continue working on the H2 Refuel with you in the future.




img_1445_720Name: Brian Karlberg

Major: Chemical Engineering

Year: Sophomore

Working on WSU’s H2 Refuel team has been great for getting familiar with the DOE hydrogen program, organizations involved in hydrogen technologies, and the specific components of hydrogen production, storage, and dispensing systems. I was able to apply my inventory management experience in organizing the parts and tools that came from the Boeing Rocketdyne lab as well as systematizing the process for reordering consumables involved in our R&D operations. I also led our team’s efforts in rigging up Genii, the 18 foot wingspan fuel cell UAV that was a previous HYPER lab project, to be displayed in our new lab. Aside from participating in setting up the H2 Refuel lab itself, it was great experience to assist in setting up and running the vortex tube experiment and collecting data.





self_photo_720Name: Conner Cole

Major: Electrical Engineering

Year: Junior

Early on in the summer I heard about the TFRB remodel project from another student and joined out of curiosity. Over the summer I worked on renovating the space alongside all of the other team members, moving stuff into the loft, rigging Genii, and working on the conference table and anything else that happened to come up, learning about processes for work assignment and team organization. I had a focus on a design for the data collection system, using the competition requirements as a template from which I had to learn about all of the systems that were and could be used. Over the course of the summer I got acquainted with hydrogen as a fuel source and am excited to see the future as it unfolds around WSU.



_img5207__3__720Name: Johnny Wang

Major: Communication

Year: Senior

During the summer, I worked on the 3D rendering image of the hydrogen refuel station using Maya ,Rhino and Solidworks. I also designed flooring for TFRB space.I learned to process work in a more efficient way compared to a classroom environment and an effectively ways to  communicate with companies