Why was the data needed?
- The Finalist was required to install a data collection system (DCS) provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to allow for accurate assignment of points to the finalist competing in the H-Prize competition, ensuring fair judging of all systems.
- NREL collected system data as shown in the attached table and provided impartial measurements of system performance to the H-Prize judges.
How was it detected?
- Data was collected primarily through the use of a Modbus TCP/IP interface. This allowed the finalist to continue their system’s monitoring of key sensors while reporting data via Modbus to the DCS for criteria evaluation.
- Finalists had to provide a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) or similar controller configured as a Modbus server. NREL’s DCS acted as the client and poll the server for data at regular intervals.
- The DCS had to collect at least two months’ worth of operational data.
What were the requirements?
- The H2 Refuel Testing Data Requirements table lists the specific sensor requirements, including information about signal range, minimal accuracy and signal types.
- The system must have several physical sensors that connect only to the DCS and do not connect electronically to any control system on the candidate system. These sensors and connecting wiring must be supplied at the contestant’s expense.
- The sensing requirements specified here are to verify system performance, and some sensors may be required only for this verification. All sensors should be addressed in design documents; any sensors required only for testing purposes should be identified as such.
- The DCS will require wired Ethernet connectivity, or failing that, access to a GSM cellular data network with sufficient signal strength and reliability to relay data to NREL. The cellular modem will be supplied as part of the DCS.
- The DCS will require one 15-amp 120-V power circuit to supply ~ 50-W. The cost of power supplied to the DCS is the contestant’s responsibility. The power supplied to the DCS will not be included in the calculations for the direct user cost criteria.
- The contestant must supply NIST traceable calibration certificates for all sensors relied upon by the DCS.
- All sensors must remain within their scheduled calibration window, based on manufacturer’s recommendations, while the DCS is collecting data.
- Sensors found to be out of calibration must be replaced in a timely fashion at the contestant’s expense. Any data captured during the out-of-calibration period shall not be used to verify the candidate system’s performance. If the calibration issues are associated with sensors that would be part of the final product, system down-time will count against the system availability criteria.
- Candidate systems may require other sensors or controls for system safety and performance above and beyond these requirements.
Installation, Site Visits and Sample Collection
- The contestants had to arrange for at at least one site visit by NREL personnel (travel at NREL’s expense) to install and verify operation of the DCS and the candidate system through at least one test fill. The candidate system and all sensor and communications equipment and wiring had to be in place and confirmed operational prior to scheduling the visit.
- If the candidate system would not have been operational during the site visit, such that the DCS could not have been installed and operated, along with operation of the candidate system, verified, additional site visits would have been required, at the contestant’s expense. Alternately, the contestant would have been able to withdraw from the competition. The contestant was required to contract, at their expense, with an independent chemistry lab capable of verifying compliance with the SAE J2719 purity standard. The contracted lab was required to visit the candidate system site and collect samples according to the ASTM D7606 sampling method as needed for verification.
- Samples had to only be in the custody of the contracted laboratory personnel and not handled by the contestants.
- The contestant was required to have the lab mail a notarized copy of the purity results directly to NREL. The results could not come to NREL via the contestant.
The DSC remained the property of the U.S. Department of Energy and had to be disconnected by the finalist, and returned to NREL at the end of the logging period, at the contestant’s expense. Data collected by the DCS remains the property of the U.S. Department of Energy, and will be stored, analyzed, and archived at the National Fuel Cell Technology Evaluation Center at NREL in accordance with the then current revision of its security procedures.
Sensors added solely to comply with DCS data collection that were not intended to be part of a final product did not count toward the total cost of the candidate system for competition scoring. Additional sensors for measurement of performance criteria may have been required based on the specific design of candidate systems. Additional details were provided to finalists after selection.
Finalist contestants were forbidden from adulterating or falsifying, concealing, or covering up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact; or making any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation; or making or using any false writing or document regarding the candidate system operation. This included providing adulterated or false signals to DCS with the aim of gaining an advantage in the competition. The DCS should not be opened or tampered with in any way, except as expressly directed in writing by NREL staff. Failure to comply with these requirements would have resulted in immediate disqualification from the H-Prize competition and could have constituted a false statement under 18 U.S.C. § 1001, which can carry a penalty of up to five years in prison.
 Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Systems Eng. Group: H-Prize, ESIF 302
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
15013 Denver West Parkway
Golden, CO 80401-3305
H2 Refuel H-Prize Technical Data Collection Requirements Webinar
The Presentation can be downloaded here >>