Where Do I Begin? A Primer for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Codes and Standards
Karen Hall, National Hydrogen Association

Table of Contents

This Primer was created to help orient professionals that are new to the realm of hydrogen and fuel cells codes & standards to better understand where to begin. This Primer may also be useful for professionals in countries that do not have hydrogen-specific requirements in place. In this case, it is important to understand the regulatory framework and approval processes in place for the production, storage, and use of fuel gases or flammable gases.
Learn more >>

  1. identifying safety-related issues associated with the production and use of hydrogen-fueled systems; and
  2. developing or updating and then validating regulations, codes and standards relating to the safe transportation, use and servicing of hydrogen-fueled systems.

U.S. National Template International Templatewww.fuelcellstandards.com

Local jurisdictions adopt building and fire codes according to their needs, and may adopt a Model Code in its entirety, or develop modifications. There are extensive efforts in the U.S. to identify areas where requirements for hydrogen energy systems may be technically different, and work through the open code development processes to harmonize requirements.

U.S. SDOs are organizations with a remit to develop standards for specific technology areas. For example, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) develops and maintains Boiler and Pressure Vessel Standards. The Compressed Gas Association (CGA) develops and publishes technical information, standards, and recommendations for safe and environmentally responsible practices in the manufacture, storage, transportation, distribution, and use of industrial gases. There are many U.S. SDOs involved in developing requirements for hydrogen energy systems. Figure 1 (below) shows the U.S. National Template for hydrogen vehicle systems and refueling facilities.

An excellent resource for understanding which organizations are involved, and the progress of these efforts is through the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Codes and Standards Coordinating Committee. This group meets monthly, usually by phone. Minutes of the calls are posted in the NHA’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Safety Report. These can be reviewed each month as they are posted, or by viewing the pages dedicated to this group. A good introduction to the U.S. national effort can be found atwww.hydrogenandfuelcellsafety.info/
 . This presentation also contains the full National Template, covering stationary applications for hydrogen and fuel cells as well as transportation and infrastructure.

Internationally, there are two main Technical Committees involved developing and maintaining International Standards for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

  • IEC/TC 105 is the International Electrotechnical Committee on Fuel Cell Technologies.
  • ISO/TC 197 is the International Organization for Standardization Technical Committee on Hydrogen Technologies.


  • Design and construction to ensure structural stability of the building and adjoining buildings;
  • Fire safety, means of escape, prevention of internal and external fire spread and access and facilities for the fire services;
  • Ventilation;
  • Drainage and waste disposal;
  • The use of combustion appliances and fuel storage;
  • Protection from falling, collision and impact;
  • The conservation of fuel and power;
  • Access to and use of the building; and
  • Electrical safety.




Find out more >>

Find out more >>



U.S. National Work Group (USNWG) for the Development of Commercial Hydrogen Measurement Standards Update
Juana Williams, National Institute of Standards and Technology

The USNWG met on December 2-4, 2008 at MicroMotion, Inc. in Boulder, Colorado.  The meeting was sponsored by DOE and NIST.  The USNWG work continues in year two of a five year plan to promote the establishment of a uniform and comprehensive set of legal metrology requirements for equipment used in hydrogen measurements for vehicle and other refueling applications. 

Test procedures
Inspection and test procedures for commercial equipment are based on NIST Handbook 44 (H44) requirements.  The USNWG Device Standards Subcommittee (DSS) is moving forward to establish preliminary minimum specifications for test standards, suitable laboratory and field test procedures, and guidelines.  Work began in November 2008 to conduct preliminary analysis of the uncertainties associated with the gravimetric, volumetric, and master meter test methods permitted for use to verify the performance of commercial hydrogen dispensing equipment.

Device Requirements
As a result of the December 2008 meeting, the DSS will make Draft 3.3 of the NIST Handbook 44 Hydrogen Gas Measuring Devices Code available to the January 2009 National Conference on Weights Measures, Inc. (NCWM).  This will be the first time the draft code appears on a national agenda.

Fuel Quality Specifications
The USNWG Fuel Specification Subcommittee (FSS) recommends that the weights and measures community consider adoption of the hydrogen fuel quality standard that was adopted as an interim standard by the State of California in September 2008 until a national or international standards body recognizes this or another standard.  This FSS proposal will be distributed for the first time for national review by the weights and measures community at the January 2009 NCWM Interim Meeting.  The FSS has proposed one fuel quality standard for both internal combustion engine and fuel cell vehicles. 

Method of Sale Requirements
The FSS addressed 16 CFR Part 309 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Labeling Requirements for Alternative Fuels and Alternative Fueled Vehicles and will modify its proposal for NIST Handbook 130 (H130) Laws and Regulations and Engine Fuel Quality to recognize this FTC requirement.

Development of International Standards
The Secretariat (the Netherlands) for International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) Recommendation 139 (R 139) "Compressed Gaseous Fuel Measuring Systems for Vehicles" has distributed the first working draft (1WD) of the international standard for review and comment.  The 2008 document is the OIML model regulation for equipment used to deliver compressed gases (natural gas, hydrogen, etc.) as a fuel into motor vehicles, small boats, and aircraft.  There are several sections that raise questions that require input from stakeholders.  The most notable of these questions are as follows: (1) Do the requirements that permit national legislation to apply rather than a single uniform international standard create trade barriers? (2) Is software adequately addressed? (3) Should the language set parameters for physical seals and electronic security or be more general? and (4) Should tests at constant flow rates be mandatory and are they achievable in today's laboratories?

NIST WMD will distribute the 1WD for R 139 the week of January 5, 2009 to gather input by March 1, 2009 from U.S. stakeholders so that it can establish a U.S. position on the 1WD. 

To participate in the USNWG for these national (H44 and H130) and/or international (R 139) requirements, please contact Juana Williams (National Institute of Standards and Technology, Weights and Measures Division) by email at juana.williams@nist.gov.

SAE Publishes Three Documents

The Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE) recently announced the publishing of three documents:

  • J2579_200901 - Technical Information Report for Fuel Systems in Fuel Cell and Other Hydrogen Vehicles

    The purpose of this document is to define design, construction, operational and maintenance requirements for hydrogen storage and handling systems in on-road vehicles. Performance-based requirements for verification of design prototype and production hydrogen storage and handling systems are also defined in this document. Complementary test protocols (for use in type approval or self-certification) to qualify designs (and/or production) as meeting the specified performance requirements are described.

    For additional details as well as purchasing information, visithttp://www.sae.org/technical/standards/J2579_200901
  • J2578_200901 - Recommended Practice for General Fuel Cell Vehicle Safety

    This Recommended Practice identifies and defines the preferred technical guidelines relating to the safe integration of fuel cell system, fuel storage, and electrical systems into the overall Fuel Cell Vehicle. The purpose of this document is to provide introductory mechanical and electrical system safety guidelines that should be considered when designing fuel cell vehicles for use on public roads.

    For additional details as well as purchasing information, visithttp://www.sae.org/technical/standards/J2578_200901
  • J2572_200810 - Recommended Practice for Measuring Fuel Consumption and Range of Fuel Cell and Hybrid Fuel Cell Vehicles Fuelled by Compressed Gaseous Hydrogen

    This Recommended Practice establishes uniform procedures for testing fuel cell and hybrid fuel cell electric vehicles. This practice provides standard tests that will allow for determination of fuel consumption and range based on the US federal Emission Test Procedure.

    For additional details as well as purchasing information, visithttp://www.sae.org/technical/standards/J2572_200810

Hydrogen Industry Panel on Codes (HIPOC) Accepting New Applications for Membership
Darren Meyers, International Code Council

We are pleased to announce the Hydrogen Industry Panel on Codes (HIPOC) is accepting new applications for the membership term 2009 -2011. Standing panelist terms expire January 31, 2009, and as you know, research and industry participation in the development of hydrogen safety codes and standards is the foundation upon which the system of national model construction codes and standards is built. Such importance cannot be overemphasized. 

As a member, we expect you will make every effort to attend all web-based and "in-person" meetings of the panel, and fulfill the responsibilities assigned to you. To the extent possible, the business of HIPOC is conducted by virtual (web-cast) meeting format, by telephone, and e-mail. Up to two (2) in-person meetings annually are forecast, but they will be kept to a minimum to reduce travel costs. Industry participation and attendance are vital to the growth and success of a safe yet robust structure of fixed facility hydrogen codes and standards to support of the nation's transition to hydrogen.

Openings in the following Interest Categories are being sought: Industrial Gas and Chemical, Fuel Cells, Energy Company, Fuel Cell Vehicles, Code Enforcement, Fire Safety Enforcement and NFPA Standards Expertise. If would like to make a significant contribution to the success of this panel, please convey your willingness and brief qualifications to serve as a member of the panel by responding todmeyers@iccsafe.org as soon as possible. 

With your help, the hydrogen and fuel cell industry will continue to reflect steady progress as it has in the past. The next web-based meeting of the HIPOC is scheduled for Wednesday, February 4th, 2009.

Organizationally, the HIPOC stands alone as a "virtual" collaborative with the staff resources of the ICC, the NFPA and the National Hydrogen Association (NHA) providing only administrative and clerical support to the panel while directing change proposals to the appropriate codes and standards development committees at the Panel's request. A website developed to function as a central clearinghouse of information relative to HIPOC business is located at:www.hydrogenandfuelcellsafety.info/hipoc with links to/from the DOE, ICC, NFPA, NHA and other related websites. 

NHA Welcomes 2009 Codes and Standards Steering Committee

The National Hydrogen Association has announced its new roster for its 2009 Codes and Standards Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is a forum to raise member issues, and help direct the codes and standards activities of the NHA. In general, the NHA focuses on six areas:

  1. International Standards and Global Technical Regulations
  2. US Model Code Support
  3. Domestic Standard Development
  4. Interdisciplinary Consensus Building
  5. Technical Workshops for Hydrogen Codes and Standards
  6. Hydrogen Safety Awareness and Outreach

The NHA extends a warm welcome to the members of the 2009 Codes and Standards Steering Committee:

Committee Members

Tom Joseph (chair)Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.

Bob BoydThe Linde Group

Aaron HarrisNuvera Fuel Cells

Brenon KnaggsBallard Power Systems

Frank LomaxH2Gen Innovations, Inc.

Larry MoulthropProton Energy Systems

David PfeilPlug Power

Andi WeinbergerDaimler AG  


William CollinsUTC Fuel Cells

Darren MeyersInternational Code Council

Paul MayNational Fire Protection Association

Carl RivkinNational Renewable Energy Laboratory  

Staff Liaisons 

Karen HallNational Hydrogen Association

Geoff BromaghimNational Hydrogen Association

2008 Fuel Cell Seminar Presentations Now Available Online

Presentations from the 2008 Fuel Cell Seminar & Exposition, held October 27-30, 2008 in Phoenix, Arizona, have been posted online and are now available for public viewing. These presentations are located on the Fuel Cell Seminar's website athttp://www.fuelcellseminar.com/2008_presentations.asp.

Postgraduate Program in Hydrogen Safety Engineering

The University of Ulster announced that the world's First Postgraduate Program in Hydrogen Safety Engineering is now open for registration. The Program will start on January 26, 2009. 

Information about this course is available athttp://www.hysafe.org/MScHSE, and registration can be completed online via the University of Ulster's Prospectus by pressing the "Apply Now" button. Further information may also be requested by sending an email to MSc-HSE@ulster.ac.uk.