Compressed Hydrogen – Part 1


As a result of the ERCOT disaster in Texas this last February (2021), we came to find out that even with 50,000 watts of installed solar we still suffered power problems due to snow covered panels, diesel generators that would not start in sub-freezing temperatures, lithium batteries that were too cold to charge and frozen pipes due to local utilities not taking even the smallest of precautions to freeze protect their main supply pipes. Given this new found awareness, we decided to look for a backup system to our backups.  Enter Hydrogen, a clean, safe and renewable fuel that works hot or cold, all day and everyday.

With much excitement and nearly as giddy as I was 30 plus years ago with my first solar panels, I engulfed nearly every Youtube video on the subject, spoke with some very knowledgeable veterans in the field (a special thanks to  Steve at GreenFuelH2O) and rushed into the purchase of some hydrogen generators, a lot of plumbing, some pretty expensive fuel cells (inverters) and then set out to make some H2. 

It did not take long for my excitement to be fully tempered with reality.   Making hydrogen is easy.  Storing it is not. 

Hydrogen is the 1st element in the periodic table, meaning it has the lowest atomic mass.  It is 14 times lighter than air.  Interestingly , hydrogen has the highest energy density by weight (excluding nuclear) than any other element, yet in its natural form, uncompressed, unfrozen state, it has very little energy per litter.  This means, unlike gasoline or diesel in order to store it in an efficient manner and then use it as fuel later, it must be compressed, frozen or mixed with other materials (metal hydride for example); the simplest of these is currently compression.  

Compressing hydrogen is a well established science on an industrial scale, yet has eluded most DIY and smaller scale enterprises due a multitude of factors including, safety, cost, end to end usefulness and reliability.   Loving a challenge, we went all in and started building, tearing it out, trying again, keeping what works and learning from what did not.  So, with nearly no expertise in this particular field, I am hoping to bring my electrical and mechanical engineering background into play which may hopefully create a finished product or at least a recipe that might be adopted by others wanting to achieve a higher level of energy independence and long term sustainability, all while being careful stewards of our environment; yet, perhaps most importantly, respecting our limited budgets.

With all that said, these videos are meant to be instructional in nature; however, I am hopeful they will provide a conduit of feedback from the community that we may all further this science for use on a smaller (residential/small business) scale.


God bless,


Coleman Air, Inc.