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Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) Lab User Interface

UI Hydrogen Team Picture

Team Members (From left to right):

Tucker Stone, Michael Towne, Drew Christian, Jeff Bauer and Lachlan Sinclair

Cruisin’ down the street in your six-four
Runnin’ on empty, Needin’ some torr
Well our station’s mind blowin’, Givin’ everybody chills
Call us H2 Refuel, Cause we’re selling everybody fills

We have a nice container, We got what you need,
Liquid hydrogen, Get as much as you please

The rhymes are still flowin’, But we gotta get goin’
This user interface is sick, Got my fill and got outta there quick

Cropped SOP

Hydrogen technology and fueling is the future of sustainable energy, and our interface is designed to welcome people to that future. In addition to providing the user with a fueling experience similar to that of a Sci Fi movie; our automatic door that houses the hydrogen dispensing system will provide the public peace of mind by protecting the dispensing assembly from vandalism. Our user interface will be safe, efficient, and intuitive. Anyone will be able to approach the station and safely fuel their car without being confused or wasting valuable time. We have designed a system that is familiar yet exciting, while still meeting our “Musts” and “Shoulds”.



  • Meet SAE standards and criteria for fueling, vehicle connection, and pump nozzle storage (SAE J2601 and SAE J2799)
  • Safely and securely connect to the vehicle
  • Fuel at pressures between 5,000 and 10,000 psi
  • Securely collect money through card reader
  • Display information that’s important and relevant to the consumer


  • Be user friendly
  • Have an appealing design
  • High durability and resistance to weather
  • Be cost effective to maintain


What’s out there?

Most of the hydrogen fueling stations that are being used today look similar to those of standard gas stations. They have a hose that is housed out in the open, with a card reader and screen to count the amount of fuel sold on a small island. Our user interface cannot follow this standard gas station format because our station needs to remain portable.


Background PIC Whats out there



We are aiming to design our system to meet 3 main points from Jakob Nielsen’s “Usability Engineering“:

  • Less is more: Giving the user every bit of information and every option can be overwhelming and confusing. Information displayed and options need to be cut down to the essentials.
  • Details matter: Small details can ruin the usability of the interface if they aren’t perfect.
  • Definition of Usability: System is easy to learn, efficient once learned, is pleasant to use and minimizes user and system errors


We are also aiming to meet 3 points outlined by Robert Hoekman, Jr’s “Designing the Obvious“:

  • Only include options that contribute to the end goal
  • If an error occurs, tell user what they should do and steps to fix the issue
  • Survey people on their opinions

Combined Fueling pic


Applicable Standards: There are many safety standards that are applicable to a hydrogen refuelling station, but the most applicable to the user interface are SAE J2601 and SAE J2799-


SAE J2601-

  • Fueling cannot take place under -40°C and over 50°C
  • The flow rate cannot exceed 60g/s
  • The initial pressure when refueling starts must be between .5Mpa and 35Mpa or 70Mpa depending on the working pressure of the car
  • The pressure sensor must be no further than 1 meter from a break away in the hose


SAE J2799-

  • The nozzle will communicate with the car via an infrared signal.
  • The data must be communicated in ASCII format.
  • The nozzle shall have at least 3 infrared receivers.
  • The vehicle will transmit many things to the receiver including:
    • The volume of the tank in liters and the nominal working pressure of the tank.
    • The pressure of the hydrogen in the cars fuel tank in MPa.
    • The temperature of the gas in the fuel tank in Kelvin
Communication Flow Cart From SAE J2799
Communication Flow Chart From SAE J2799
Nozzle IR Sensor from SAE J2799
Nozzle IR Sensor from SAE J2799

Design Specifications

Our house of quality (HOQ) is a practical way for engineers to systematically evaluate the potential performance of multiple design features. This provides us with a simple yet highly effective way of insuring that our design will perform efficiently, safely, and be produced in a cost effective manner.

For the user interface, we focused our HOQ around variables such as the ease of use, customer experience, and interface installation, weighing these variables based off of factors such as manufacturing cost, life cycle, and ease of maintenance. With this HOQ, we are able create relationships between the factors and variables, allowing us to analyze the potential performance of our design.

  • The Simplistic Design has cheaper components than the other two options, which increase the chances for failure and decrease security. In this design, the hose will be housed on the outside of the container. The computer will have less RAM, less storage capacity, and is more susceptible to damage due to moisture and vibrations.
  • The Technologically Advanced Experience has an automated door that will house the hose assembly and open once the payment is received, protecting the hydrogen hose assembly and enhancing the user experience. The computer in this design has more RAM, more  storage capacity, and is also more modular, enabling it to be progressively upgraded as needed.
  • The Hybrid Design includes the advance computer system, but it uses the same security as the simplistic design. This created a high risk high reward situation represented in the below HOQ.

Our Simplified HOQ:

 Final final HOQ


Design Alternatives

Technologically Advanced Experience

  • WEH fueling assembly capable of dispensing hydrogen at 10000 psi (70 Bar)
  • Fueling hose housed on inside of the container
  • System made accessible by credit card swipe and automatic door
  • Screen interface with keypad

Hybrid Design

  • WEH fueling assembly capable of dispensing hydrogen at 10000 psi (70 Bar)
  • User interaction elements on outside of container
  • Screen interface with keypad

Simplistic U.I.

  • WEH fueling assembly capable of dispensing hydrogen at 5000 psi (35 Bar)
  • User interaction elements on outside of container
  • Screen interface with keypad

Our Recommendation:

To allow for the user to have the most unique experience, while keeping the system easy to maintain, we recommend using the Technologically Advanced Design. This option provides the user with a familiar process to begin refueling, while emphasizing the use of automation to give the user a unique and futuristic experience. It also uses a more robust and modular computer to decrease maintenance and increase the life of our system to the required 10 years. The automatic door system will consist of a 4 foot wide roll up, which will be opened with an electric motor and locked in the closed position with a servo at either side.

To ensure the safety of the user and the system we recommend a simple registration system that will recognize users that have already used the system successfully. Our design suggestion is to have an instructional video that plays for a user that is new to the station. After viewing the video, the user would be prompted to create a 5 digit PIN number that they can use to bypass the video in future visits to the station. When a user visiting the station has input their payment option and their PIN, the station door will open and allow the user to begin fueling.

In order to create a highly modular system, our computer will be a HP 8000 Elite Desktop. This desktop’s motherboard has all the necessary components to continually add ram and storage capacity as needed. Due to the potential failure resulting from a prolonged life cycle and environmental effects, this system will have many cheap and replaceable parts that do not require training to replace. To operate the system, the user will be able to fully navigate everything with the Rugged Back-Lit Metal Keypad USB system. In order to insure the safety of the computer monitor, a custom, high strength glass panel manufactured by Dulles Glass and Mirror will be used to cover the screen.

Preview 1 Isometric Closed

Preview 2 Isometic Open

Preview Interface




  • Approximately $38,000 should be set aside today in order to cover the total cost of the subsystem.
    • Initial Cost = $20,000
    • Annual maintenance cost of about $150 due to periodic inspection
    • Annual interest rate of 6%
    • A = $150, therefore A(P/A,6%,10)=($150)(7.3601) = $1104
    • Total cost = $20,000 + $1104 = $21,104
    • Future total cost = G(F/G,6%,10)=($21,104)(1.7908) = $37,793
  • Our subsystem will depreciate to approximately $7,170 after 10 years. This calculation is based off an original cost of $20,000 and an iterative depreciation at a 10 year recovery period.

What’s Next


To begin building the user interface of a working hydrogen refueling station, we need to purchase the necessary components we believe to be best suited for the task:

With these, construction and system testing can commence.






Washington State University