NFPA Standards Council News: Hydrogen Consolidation
Carl Rivkin, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Proposed Hydrogen Technology Correlating Committee
The Standards Council has received a request to establish a new Hydrogen Technology Project. This project will address the safe storage, use, and handling of Hydrogen. Currently, the topic of Hydrogen is addressed in a range of various NFPA projects, and a need is rapidly emerging to consolidate and coordinate these existing requirements, based on the evolving use of Hydrogen in today's mainstream society, into one document.

To address this need for consolidation and coordination, a Technical Correlating Committee (TCC) for Hydrogen Technologies is being proposed. The Technical Committees that currently cover various aspects of this topic would continue to have primary responsibility for their subject areas and their existing documents. The proposed Technical Correlating Committee would then be comprised of representatives of the existing affected NFPA Technical Committees and others as appropriate to consolidate and coordinate the material into one cohesive code mainly through the use of extracts from the existing documents. The Standards Council, therefore, is soliciting input from the affected committees and the public on this proposed new project.

Anyone interested in commenting on this proposed project is invited to do so in writing. Please include information on resources on the subject matter, the names of those interested in participating on the Committee (if established), the names of other organizations actively involved with this subject, and why there is a need for such a project. Responses should be sent to:

Codes and Standards Administration, NFPA
1 Batterymarch Park
Quincy, MA 02169-7471

Please respond by October 1, 2005. For anyone that requires additional information on the proposed project, please contact NFPA Codes and Standards Administration.

Harmonization of Guidelines for Hydrogen Fuel Specifications
Karen Hall, National Hydrogen Association

As reported previously in the Safety Report, both SAE and ISO TC 197 have efforts to develop guidance for hydrogen fuel for use in hydrogen vehicle demonstrations. Ultimately, it is envisaged that these efforts may lead to standards, at the appropriate time. In the meantime, the documents will be available to assist demonstrations by providing a specification for hydrogen fuel that protects vehicle performance. 

Currently, both the ASE and ISO efforts are harmonized with respect to limits on contaminants in hydrogen fuel in all respects but one. The remaining issue relates to concentration of particulates. The difference in suggested limits is based in part on a difference in philosophy, and in part on a lack of data. 

The philosophy issue is as follows: The initial SAE draft is seeking to specify constituent limits on the fuel as delivered, assuming no additional contamination from the dispensing equipment or other sources, like storage vessels. While this is not the endpoint, it is the baseline from which to build as more knowledge is gained. The ISO effort is seeking to specify constituent limits on the fuel at the nozzle. It recognizes that there are sources of contamination after delivery of the hydrogen fuel, and ISO is taking a first step to understand real-world conditions, while still protecting vehicle performance.

In both draft documents, particulates greater in size that 10 µm are unallowable. For particulates smaller than 10 µm, SAE is recommending a maximum allowable concentration of 1 µg/L, while ISO is recommending a maximum of 10 µg/L. Both groups are seeking feedback from industry to update some of the values in the specifications in future revisions, based on industry experience.

By the time this article is published, it is likely that the SAE Technical Information Report will be in publication, and the ISO TC 197 Technical Specification will have been submitted to the ISO TC 197 Secretariat for editing and balloting.

There will likely be one or more workshops over the next 12 months to address cost trade-off issues, research needs, and testing methods in support of the longer-term development of these specifications. The NHA will post details of such workshops on our Calendar of Meetings/Events.

Should you require any additional information, feel free to e-mail me at You are also encouraged to visit the archives of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Safety Report. This site has posted several articles describing the efforts to develop hydrogen fuel specifications.

UK Hydrogen Activities Update: Policy, Certification, Safety, and a UKHA?
Karen Hall, National Hydrogen Association

The UK Policy
The 2003 Energy White Paper, Our Energy Future: Creating a Low Carbon Economy, set the United Kingdom Government's policy on renewable energy, including a provision for a future increase in electricity consumption, and an increase in energy efficiency. One of the White Paper's four goals is to cut the UK's carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, as recommended by the Royal Environmental Commission on Pollution, with real progress by 2020, while maintaining reliable and competitive energy supplies. The Government recognises that increasing the use of renewables can make a significant contribution to achieving this. The White Paper also recognises the decline of the UK's indigenous energy supplies. 

The UK already imports nearly 50 per cent of the coal it uses. By around 2006, the UK will also be a net importer of gas, and by around 2010 of oil. By 2020, the UK could be dependent on imported energy for three-quarters of our total primary energy needs. It has recognized that the best way of maintaining energy reliability will be through energy diversity. 

The UK needs many sources of energy, many suppliers and many supply routes. Renewables and smaller-scale, distributed energy sources - e.g. micro-combined heat and power (CHP) and fuel cells - will help us avoid over-dependence on imports and can make us less vulnerable to security threats. With hydrogen made from a broad array of domestically available sources, this will diversify the primary energy portfolio.

Distributed energy resources, such as turbines, advanced gensets and fuel cells, provide opportunities to meet increased power needs without increased transmission infrastructure. These systems can operate independently of the grid and when these systems are operated on hydrogen and/or hydrogen blended fuels, significant reductions in urban air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions will be realized. Hydrogen offers a strategic opportunity to meet increasing UK energy needs in a highly efficient way without increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Much like the US, the UK is well positioned to transition from oil and gas as primary energy carriers to hydrogen. Hydrogen will then be the principal energy carrier, along with electricity, that will be used in all sectors of society and generated from all available feed stocks. The UK has a range of industries dedicated to creating a hydrogen energy infrastructure, including several major multinational energy suppliers.

Hydrogen energy is clean at the point of use. The production of hydrogen from renewable energy sources offers the potential to create an almost zero emission energy chain, with hydrogen used in fuel cells, internal combustion engines, and turbines. These can be used to power everything from households (providing both heat and power) to mobile phones and cars. Hydrogen can also be added to more conventional fuels, such as natural gas and diesel, to reduce CO2 emissions.

Areas such as Teesside, with its long history of petrochemical innovation, are pioneering the initial development of the necessary technology and infrastructure to produce larger-scale hydrogen fuel cells and help speed the creation of a hydrogen economy.

It is widely acknowledged that a shift to a hydrogen-based economy is the likely goal over the next 50 to 100 years. This is due to its versatility, range of potential applications, and almost zero emissions when used.

On 14 June 2005, the DTI announced a hydrogen strategy worth a further £15 million. This will include demonstration programmes for hydrogen and fuel cells and the establishment of a Hydrogen Coordination Unit and represents a step change in the Government's commitment to hydrogen energy. Previously disparate efforts on hydrogen and fuel cells R&D will be brought together for the first time within an overall strategy. It will help to ensure that the UK's participation in international initiatives such as the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy is fully effective and benefits both the UK and our international partners.

The Government has responded positively to the report A Strategic Framework for Hydrogen Energy in the UK. The Government announced a funding package of around some £15 Million over four years for UK demonstrations of hydrogen and fuel cell energy technologies (most likely in the form of capital grants). The Government accepted the recommendation for the establishment of a Hydrogen Coordination Unit (HCU) to enable the development and deployment of low carbon, low cost and secure hydrogen energy chains for transport in line with national policy objectives. The Government will consider the potential options before deciding on the precise form which such a Unit should take.

International collaboration will also be important, and the Hydrogen Coordination Unit will help to ensure that the UK both contributes to and benefits from such collaboration wherever this is appropriate through global partners such as the International Energy Agency and the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy.

Naturally, as the UK is a member of the EU, CE marking will be required for many hydrogen energy systems. CE Marking is a mandatory mark for many of the products sold on the EFTA plus European Union (EU) market.

EU legislations, e.g. EU directive concerning Liability for Defective Products, make EU importers liable for the products they import, including the machinery they provide to their employees for work. Equipment manufacturers from outside the EU may find that no matter how interested a prospective EU importer may be in the product, the importer will NOT risk importing products without an appropriate CE Marking.

CE Marking may be achieved through several routes. One of the most practical ways, which is preferred by many EU importers who are neither specialized in the complicated CE Marking process nor willing to take risk, is that the manufacturer designates an Authorized Representative in the EU member states who will take care of the CE Marking issue. This allows the importers and/or distributors to focus on the marketing and sales of the products. The manufacturer may need only ONE Authorized Representative in the EU whereas they may have many importers and/or distributors.

The Authorized Representative may in some cases register the product(s) in the EU member states and thus obtain a Certificate of Registration. The Product Certificate of Registration for CE Marking obtained from one EU member state is valid for the entire EFTA plus EU market, i.e. 28 countries.

In general, CE Marking is most probably required if you want to sell to the 25 European Union (EU) and three European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states, the following 22 groups of products:

appliances burning gaseous fuels, cableway installations to carry persons, construction products, electrical equipment, equipment and protective systems for explosive atmospheres, explosives for civil uses, hot water boilers, household refrigerators & freezers, lift, machinery, marine equipment, measuring instruments, medical devices, active implantable medical devices, in vitro diagnostic medical devices, non-automatic weighing equipment, personal protective equipment, pressure equipment, simple pressure vessels, recreational craft, radio equipment & telecommunications terminal equipment, toys, trans-European conventional rail system.

HSE Effort
Britain's Health and Safety Commission (HSC) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are responsible for the regulation of almost all the risks to health and safety arising from work activity in Britain. Their mission is to protect people's health and safety by ensuring risks in the changing workplace are properly controlled. The HSE has taken a lead to bring UK industry stakeholders together to draft a Guideline for stationary appliances. Specifically, AN INSTALLATION GUIDE FOR HYDROGEN FUEL CELLS AND ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT.

  1. All stationary fuel cell devices/installations fuelled by hydrogen and ventilated to the outdoors.
  2. Does not apply where the hydrogen fuel is made by internal/adjacent reforming of other fuels.
  3. Does not apply to portable or transport applications.
    Except where specifically prescribed below, the design, location and installation of hydrogen storage systems for fuel cells should comply with EIGA IGC Doc15/96 "Gaseous Hydrogen Stations". No storage of hydrogen shall be allowed within the occupied space of domestic dwellings.
The guideline states a preference to locating all equipment outdoors where possible. Otherwise, suitable ventilation is required.

This document has been taken as far as possible with the current group of stakeholders. It is now being considered by a group who are in the process of forming a national hydrogen association in the UK.

UK Hydrogen Association
It is felt that the emerging UK hydrogen energy industry is poorly represented in the UK and especially in Europe. There is a role for advocacy.

Therefore, a small group of interested parties representing industry, academia and regional groups have met to discuss how they might organise themselves in the future. The group has looked at the specific needs of the UK and how other hydrogen associations operate around the world.

The group is preparing an outline proposal that will be widely socialised and commented on by the UK hydrogen energy community. This proposal will be presented at the Grove Fuel Cell Exhibition to all those with an interest: Grove Fuel Cell Exhibition, Mountbatten Room on the 4th October, lunchtime 13.10 - 14.30

Hydrogen energy can play a significant role in meeting the Climate Change goals of the United Kingdom. Hydrogen energy can be produced from a variety of feedstocks available in the United Kingdom, including wind, wave, and tidal energy. Technologies associated with hydrogen energy provide economic opportunities in the United Kingdom in the areas of research, development, commercialisation, and supporting industries.

A UK Hydrogen Association can encourage information sharing among regional hydrogen efforts, and provide a mechanism for a larger, single voice on the national level.

In addition, a UK Hydrogen Association can serve as a focal point for UK interests related to the European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform (HFP).

The United Kingdom is coming together on the development and deployment of hydrogen energy systems, including stationary fuel cell systems. Government, industry, and academia are working together to identify challenges and opportunities. A UK Hydrogen Association is forming. This will facilitate UK participation in European and other International hydrogen activities. Hydrogen energy equipment for stationary applications is likely to require CE marking. An installation guide for hydrogen fuel cells and associated equipment has been drafted by a group of industrial representatives. This draft will be provided to a broader stakeholder group of stakeholders during the formation of the UK Hydrogen Association. Parties interested in more information on the UK Hydrogen Association and its activities are encouraged to attend a stakeholders meeting in conjunction with the Grove Fuel Cell Exhibition, Mountbatten Room on the 4th October, at 13.10 - 14.30.

NGV2/HGV2 Update
Julie Cairns, CSA America, Inc.

The NGV2/HGV2 TAG met by teleconference on June 28 and July 26.

Highlights of note include:

  • Revisions to NGV2 (Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Fuel Containers) were recommended to the Automotive Technical Committee for inclusion in the NGV2 standard (Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Fuel Containers) at its March 29-31, 2004 meeting and the March 8 and 10, 2005 Teleconference Meetings. Revisions include:
    • revised to make terminology and units consistent with international and industry standards
    • revised to clarify language and test requirements
  • Revisions to NGV2 (Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Fuel Containers) have been adopted by the TAG for distribution for public review and comment. The review and comment will include revisions adopted at the March 29-31, 2004 meeting and the March 8 and 10, June 28 and July 26, 2005 Teleconference Meetings.
    • revised cycle life requirements: minimum 10 years/maximum 25 years
    • using ratios, rather than percentages, throughout the document
  • Draft HGV2 (Hydrogen Gas Vehicle Fuel Conatiners)
    • Life Cycle Working Group working with OEMs and tank manufacturers on life cycles for hydrogen tanks. The working group is reviewing draft ISO requirements.
    • TAG reviewing draft for consistentency with international terminology and units, and clarity of language
    • TAG working with ASME Hydrogen Steering Committee on issues of possible hydrogen embrittlement
    • TAG working to ensure technical consistency throughout the document and documenting rationale

The next teleconference is scheduled to be held August 30, 2005 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. (EST).