The number of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) in circulation has undergone a significant increase in recent years. This trend is foreseen to be stronger in the near future. In correlation with the FCEVs market increase, the hydrogen delivery infrastructure must be developed. With this aim, many countries have announced ambitious projects. For example, Spain has the objective of increasing the number of Hydrogen Refuelling Stations (HRS) with public access from three units in operation currently to about 150 by 2030. HRSs are complex systems with high variability in terms of layout design, size of components, operational strategy, hydrogen generation method or hydrogen generation location. This paper is focused on on-site HRS with electrolysis-based hydrogen production, which provides interesting advantages when renewable energy is utilized compared to off-site hydrogen production despite their complexity. To optimize HRS design and operation, a simulation model must be implemented. This paper describes a generic on-site HRS with electrolysis-based hydrogen production, a cascaded multi-tank storage system with multiple compressors, renewable energy sources, and multiple types of dispensing formats. A modelling approach of the layout is presented and tested with real-based parameters of an HRS currently under development, which is capable of producing 11.34 kg/h of green H2 with irradiation at 1000 W/m2. For the operation, an operational strategy is proposed. The modelled system is tested through several simulations. A sensitivity analysis of the effects of hydrogen demand and day-ahead hydrogen production objective on emissions, demand satisfaction and variable costs is performed. Simulation results show how the operational strategy has achieved service up to 310 FCEVs refuelling events of heavy duty and light duty FCEVs, bringing the total H2 sold up to almost 7200 H2kg in one month of winter. Additionally, considering variable costs of the energy from the utility grid, the model shows a profit in the range of 21–50 k€ for a daily demand of 60 H2kg/day and 100 H2kg/day, respectively. In terms of emissions, a year simulation with 60 H2kg/day of demand shows specific emissions in the production of H2 in Spain of 6.26 kgCO2eq/H2kg, which represents a greenhouse gas emission intensity of 52.26 gCO2eq/H2MJ.


on-off control, power generation control, predictive control, storage automation.

Author keywords

Hydrogen refuelling station; Operational strategy; Modelling approach; On-site hydrogen production; Green hydrogen production; Finite-state machine

Scientific reference

P. Cardona, R. Costa, V. Roda, J. Carroquino, L. Valiño, C. Ocampo-Martínez and M. Serra. Modelling and operation strategy approaches for on-site hydrogen refuelling stations. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 52: 49-64, 2024.