Tiger Optics Shows Prowess in Testing Hydrogen for Fuel Cell Vehicles
author Added by FuelCellsWorks, November 02, 2015

The need is vital, as Toyota and other automakers bring new electric autos to market

Warrington, PA – Spearheading the move to carbon-free transportation, Tiger Optics LLC, a leader in laser-based detection of trace contaminants, announces its most recent order from the State of California to qualify the hydrogen (H2) required to operate fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).

Tiger’s analyzers provide the sensitivity, selectivity and accuracy needed to measure certain contaminants that can damage or destroy a vehicle’s fuel cell. Because such quality control is crucial for FCEVs to achieve mass-market success, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International has set stringent standards for hydrogen fuel purity (http://standards.sae.org/j2719_201109/).

The issue is timely, as Toyota begins delivering its “Mirai” fuel cell electric vehicles to eight California dealerships in October this year. To build consumer confidence, the automaker is offering an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on the Mirai FCEV, as well as free fuel for three years. At recent count, only nine hydrogen fuel stations in California were open to the public, but more are in the works. The California Fuel Cell Partnership—a consortium of private and public entities—expects more than 50 stations to be operational in the state by the end of 2016. Indeed, California adopted legislation in 2013 to allocate $20 million annually to build at least 100 hydrogen-fueling stations.

If the fuel’s availability is crucial, so is its reliability. California State law requires the Division of Measurement Standards to establish and enforce the quality standards for alternative engine fuels sold in California. Samples are collected at individual stations, then tested in a state laboratory for compliance.

To that end, the California division initially purchased a sophisticated hydrogen fuel analyzer system for its Sacramento lab several years ago. With the new order, California is expanding its FCEV support capability in Southern California to include a similar lab in Anaheim. The systems —designed and built by Lotus Consulting of Long Beach, California—integrate separate analyzers to look for a dozen or more destructive contaminants and diluents in hydrogen. Randy Bramston-Cook, Principal at Lotus Consulting, reports, "We have found the Tiger Optics analyzers easy to merge into our complete package, and their detection performance is well below target concentrations.”

The Lotus system incorporates Tiger Optics analyzers to screen for three of the damaging contaminants: water, ammonia and formaldehyde, with carbon monoxide analyzers pending. “Tiger is proud to help Californians adopt cars that cut Greenhouse Gas emissions by more than 50% compared to our present vehicles,” states Jeremiah Riddle, Tiger Optics’ President.

Tiger Optics ranks as the top performer in a 2015 report funded by the U. S. Department of Energy Fuel Cell Technologies Office, entitled H2First Hydrogen Contaminant Detector Task