Safety-Related Highlights from the NHA Conference
Karen Hall, National Hydrogen Association

The NHA is pleased to provide the safety-related highlights of our 2008 Annual Conference, Ramping up Commercialization, held March 30 – April 3 in Sacramento. We welcomed over 1000 participants, representing 30 countries, plus an additional 200 visitors for Public Day. 

In addition to technical sessions on safety, codes and standards, this year’s conference included a panel discussion that described the amazing progress made in hydrogen vehicle standards, and the ongoing work to finalize some of these standards through data projects.

CGA held a post-conference workshop. From hydrogen powered cell phones to hydrogen fueled vehicles, industry experts discussed the latest advances in hydrogen applications and storage. Topics included hydrogen safety, fuel quality, and recent developments in building and fire prevention codes. 

Visitors to the conference were able to instantly benefit from the increased availability of hydrogen and fuel cell systems, as a Plug Power fuel cell was on hand to power the conference registration desk. In fact, there was an unprecedented number of live demonstrations in the exhibition hall, owing to a lot of good communication between industry and permitting officials. There were 90+ exhibitors and 20 hydrogen vehicles from 10 manufacturers: General Motors, Honda, Daimler, Nissan, Volkswagen, Toyota, BMW, Ford, Hyundai, AC Transit. 

Additional highlights can be found on the official conference website at, under Media/Press. 

ISO/TC 197 Update

ISO/TC 197 WG10 is meeting April 15-16, 2008, at the U.S. Fuel Cell Council offices in Washington DC to address comments from the vote of ISO/DIS 16111 Transportable gas storage devices—Hydrogen absorbed in reversible metal hydride. Ned Stetson, DOE, is convenor. 

The U.S. TAG for ISO/TC 197 will meet Friday, May 30 at CGA in Chantilly, Virginia beginning at 9 AM. The primary purpose for the TAG meeting is to prepare for the ISO/TC 197 meeting in Brisbane, Australia June 13. 

The US voted to disapprove New Work Item Proposal (N391) on Road vehicles—Compressed gaseous hydrogen (CGH2) and hydrogen/methane blends fuel system components. It was felt that CSA and SAE should finish their work in this area before proceeding to an international standard. Results of international voting were not known at the time of publication of this report. 

ISO 14687:1999/Cor 2:2008 Hydrogen fuel—Product specification—Technical Corrigendum 2 has been published. This corrigendum removed PEM fuel cells for road vehicles from the scope. 

Draft Technical Specification 20012, Gaseous hydrogen—Fuelling stations has been approved to be published. You may recall that this item received a significant number of technical comments during ballot. The ISO/TC 197 Chairman indicated that comments that could be resolved easily would be resolved prior to publication of the Technical Specification. The chairman of the US-TAG (Glenn Scheffler) has noted that only about 1/3 of the U.S. comments were addressed as part of the post-ballot adjustments, leaving 48 pages of unresolved comments. Additionally, it is noted that items such as risk-based setback distances and fault management requirements for the dispenser are some of the items that were not yet addressed. It is anticipated that all remaining comments are to be resolved in the Working Group during the development of the Draft International Standard (DIS). 

The following are currently out for vote:

  • ISO/DIS 15869.3Gaseous hydrogen and hydrogen blends—Land vehicle fuel tanks. U.S. TAG votes and comments by May 7. Vote concludes May 26.

  • ISO/FDIS 22734-1, Hydrogen generators using water electrolysis process—Part 1: Industrial and commercial applications. U.S. TAG votes and comments by May 9. Vote concludes May 28.

Members of the National Hydrogen Association who are interested in reviewing either of these documents in order to provide input for the NHA vote in the US TAG should contact Karen Hall

Jim Ohi Receives Meritorious Service Award for Safety Work
Karen Hall, National Hydrogen Association

On April 2, 2008, the National Hydrogen Association presented a Meritorious Service Award to Dr. Jim Ohi, who retired at the end of last year, after nearly 30 years of service with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (a.k.a. “NREL”). Jim served as a Senior Project Leader with the Electric and Hydrogen Technologies and Systems Center at NREL since 1978. His recent work has focused on technical and programmatic support to the DOE Office of Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and Infrastructure Technologies on hydrogen safety and codes and standards. 

For the last four years, Jim has led the North American Task Group on hydrogen fuel quality, coordinating North American interests for the development of International Standards and Specifications on hydrogen fuel quality. Last year, he helped launch the DOE Hydrogen Fueling Station Permitting Workshops. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) facilitates the permitting of hydrogen fueling station (HFS) projects by helping to make the permitting process more predictable, less time-consuming and more efficient both for project developers and permitting officials. 

For his lifelong dedication to advance codes and standards favorable to the commercialization of hydrogen technology, it was the NHA’s honor to present Jim Ohi with the Meritorious Service Award.

Program for Third European Summer School on Hydrogen Safety Announced
Courtesy Prof. Vladimir Molkov, University of Ulster

The Third European Summer School on Hydrogen Safety will be held at the University of Ulster (Belfast, UK) from 21 - 30 July, 2008. The topical content of the School covers the whole spectrum of activities of the European Network of Excellence HySafe "Safety of Hydrogen as an Energy Carrier" and complies with the International Curriculum on Hydrogen Safety Engineering. 

The state-of-the art in Hydrogen Safety is covered from fundamentals to applications and topics include: hydrogen release, mixing, and distribution; thermal, pressure and missile effects from fires and explosions; development and validation of mitigation techniques; safety assessment and risk analysis; and standards, guidelines and legal requirements. The teaching materials of this Summer School are used in World's First Higher Educational Programme in Hydrogen Safety Engineering.

For more information, please or contact: 

Prof. Vladimir Molkov
Professor of Fire Safety Science
University of Ulster
T: +44(0)2890368731

Mr. Robert Morley
Manager, Hydrogen Safety Programme
University of Ulster
T: +44 (0)28 90368222

Summary of Committee Recommendations to Code Change Proposals Affecting Hydrogen Technology in the I-Codes
Karen Hall, National Hydrogen Association

The ICC Code Development Hearings were held between February 18 and March 2, 2008 in Palm Springs, California. At the hearings, I-Codes Committees heard proposals on all aspects of the I-codes, including the International Fire Code and International Fuel Gas Code. Several of these code change proposals were tracked closely by the Hydrogen Industry Panel on Codes (HIPOC). A very brief summary of the outcome of these key hydrogen proposals is provided below. Full proposals are available on the ICC website at 

The Report of the Public Hearing is expected later this month. 

HIPOC is currently considering options with respect to public comment on these committee recommendations. The deadline for receipt of public comments is June 9, 2008. The Final Action Hearings will be held September 17-23 in Minneapolis, MN.

  1. G28-07/08, Canopies used to shelter dispensing operations not as Group H. Approved as Modified. Clarified GH2.

  2. F231-07/08, Clarify reference to Ch. 30, 32 and NFPA 55 Disapproved.

  3. F232-07/08, Delete outdoor public assembly setback from T2209.3.1. Disapproved.

  4. F233-07/08, Part I, Add reference to DIN EN 1081-2004 for ESD to IFC. As Submitted (8-6), IFC Secretariat analysis indicated EN 1081 was reviewed for compliance with ICC policy and accepted as compliant. F233-07/08, Part II, Add reference to DIN EN 1081-2004 for ESD to IBC. Disapproved, Part II rejected not on technical merit, rather based on 1) not having copies of the standard, 2) IFC secretariat's assessment of EN 1081 should have been coordinated and mentioned by the IBC-General Secretariat from the dais, and 3) a HIPOC representative was not present.

  5. F234-07/08, Indoor fast-fill hydrogen fuel dispensing. Disapproved (8-6). Initial vote was for "As Submitted" but failed (6-8). Reasons given: Language "to the extent practical" is unenforceable, improve cross-references among sections, and terminology is confusing.

  6. F235-07/08, Add reference to UL2075-2007, Standard for gas/vapor detection. Approved as Submitted.

  7. F261-07/08, Definition of "bulk" hydrogen storage and NFPA 55. Disapproved.

  8. F282-07/08, Clarify references for "bulk" flammable gas storage vs. H2 motor fuel-dispensing operations. Approved as Submitted.

  9. F286-07/08, Add new "bulk" flammable gas storage and setback table. Withdrawn by Proponent.

  10. FG49-07/08, Stationary FC PP's <10MW installed to manufacturer’s instructions, NFPA 853, and the IBC and IFC. Approved as Submitted

  11. F287-07/08, Affecting Ch. 35 concerning weather protection for flammable gases. As written it captures any structure providing weather protection including the storage modules used for gaseous hydrogen associated with stationary hydrogen fuel cell power plants. It prohibits the use of 2 hour construction to reduce separation requirements. Language specifies weather protection "constructed in accordance with the code" which would preclude pre-fabricated storage modules commonly used. Approved as Submitted.

  12. F78-07/08, Forbids structures, outdoor storage within a utility easement underneath high-voltage lines. Affecting telecommunications industry citing of FC PP’s as back-up power supplies. An exception could be added for telecommunications equipment, combustible storage and vehicles. Approved as Modified.

New Website Aids Permitting
Karen Hall, National Hydrogen Association

DOE has unveiled a new website to aid permitting of hydrogen refueling stations. The website was created in response to feedback from the DOE Hydrogen Fuelling Station Workshops, which began last year. Permitting processes, technologies involved, delivery options, and a database with appropriate citations to the codes & standards relevant to the application are all included. 

The new Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Codes and Standards website is being developed for permitting officials. The website, which is available now, continues to develop. It will provide a unique resource for building code, fire marshals, fire safety and other local/state officials involved in the permitting of: (i) hydrogen dispensing equipment in existing vehicular fueling stations that dispense gasoline and diesel fuel; and (ii) new retail multi-fuel fueling stations with hydrogen to be one of the fuels dispensed. 

The website will be a “one stop” repository /data base relating to hydrogen fueling stations, and includes case studies, technical information regarding fueling station equipment appropriate for permitting officials, among other relevant information. 

The website also includes the Hydrogen Fueling Station Permitting Process which is a tool for taking permitting officials step-by-step through all the issues involved in the complete permitting of a fueling station. Currently, NREL is working to add a telecommunications permitting process module to the website. 

The International Codes Council (ICC) has granted permission to include excerpts to the applicable sections of the I-codes in the website. NREL is currently negotiating with NFPA to do the same. In the future, other codes and standards development organizations may be approached to have their codes and standards included. The website is specific to refueling stations, and NREL is in the process of doing something similar with other hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, particularly stationary fuel cells. 

The website was unveiled during the Hydrogen Fueling Station and Fuel-Cells-for-Telecommunications Permitting Workshop, which was conducted collaboratively by DOE, NASFM and the California Fire Prevention Institute as part of CaFPI’s 2008 Annual Conference. The Workshop was held 12-13 March at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott in Buelton, CA (near Santa Barbara). 

Opportunities for additional workshops will be identified by industry. The next workshop is expected to be conducted in the New York City metro area on May 15 &16. It will be targeted at fire safety and permitting officials in New York City, New York State and New Jersey. This will be a DOE/NREL/NASFM/NHA/USFCC collaborative effort.

The address for the website is as follows: 

NREL has encouraged stakeholders to look at the website and provide comments to make it as useful as possible while they continue to improve the website.