Horizon Unveils First Personal Hydrogen StationJanuary 03, 2010 by Jeff Shepard
Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies unveiled what it says could be its biggest breakthrough to date: a small home hydrogen refueling and storage solution that could begin the transition to a hydrogen-based economy. According to the company, in addition to making many new fuel cell products possible, the refueling device enables a lower cost, scalable, and consumer-centric hydrogen supply model which eliminates the dependence on large-scale fueling infrastructure investments.
"We no longer need to rely on nationwide networks of hydrogen fueling stations to enable large-scale fuel cell commercialization," commented Taras Wankewycz, one of the company’s founders. "Horizon is initiating a transition that places consumers in the driving seat. Thanks to our innovation each household can gradually become a major part of tomorrow’s hydrogen fuel supply infrastructure.
Named HYDROFILL™, and said to be the world’s first personal hydrogen station, the small desktop device simply plugs into the ac, a solar panel or a small wind turbine, automatically extracts hydrogen from its water tank and stores it in a solid form in small refillable cartridges. The cartridges contain metallic alloys that absorb hydrogen into their crystalline structure, and release it back at low pressures, removing concerns about storing hydrogen at high pressure. This storage method also creates the highest volumetric energy density of any form of hydrogen storage, even higher than liquid hydrogen. According to the company, unlike conventional batteries, these cartridges carry more energy capacity, are cheaper, and do not contain any environmentally-harmful heavy metals.
Horizon believes the HYDROFILL™ is the first step towards private refueling of new generations of fuel cell electric vehicles. Fuel cell technology can greatly improve the features and usability of many battery or engine-powered devices, and create the possibility for lower cost electric cars that drive longer distances and recharge instantly.
Horizon’s next phase starts now with the market introduction of a complete line of portable consumer electronic devices that address much larger markets. The first of these products include a micro-fuel cell power supply called MINIPAK, which extends the off-grid runtimes of small electronic devices including cell phones, lighting products, and many USB powered devices. Horizon will also present an upgraded version of its larger portable off-grid dc power supply system called HYDROPAK. While these and other products will start entering the market in 2010, Horizon is already developing larger-size refueling systems that will enable anything from garden equipment to transportation.