Hydrogen Safety, Codes and Standards Activities Currently Planned in Conjunction with the 2010 NHA Conference and Hydrogen Expo
Karen Hall, National Hydrogen Association

Plans are well underway for the NHA’s 2010 Hydrogen Conference and Expo, which will be held May 3-6 in Long Beach, California.

In response to feedback from previous conferences, there will be fewer breakout sessions than in previous years. We are planning two technical sessions dedicated to safety, codes and standards. The first is a parallel session on the morning of Tuesday, May 4th, which also happens to be Public Day for this year’s show. The second is a 3-hour workshop-style session scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, May 5th.

There are opportunities for related events to be scheduled. These will be announced as they are finalized.

Parallel Session 1: Safety Codes and Standards

Parallel Session 4: Codes & Standards Workshop

Information on conference technical sessions on safety, vehicle ride-and-drives, live demonstrations and more is available online at www.hydrogenconference.org.

NFPA 2 Update
Paul May, NFPA

The Report on Proposals for NFPA 2, the Hydrogen Technologies Code, became publicly available on December 8, 2009. Interested parties can review the draft document and the committee actions on proposals received on the NFPA website athttp://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/AboutTheCodes.asp?DocNum=2. You can also download comment forms from this website and submit online comments related to the committee actions on the proposals received. The public comment closing date is March 5, 2010.

The Hydrogen Technologies Committee is continuing their work of filling in appropriate provisions for liquid hydrogen (LH2), Separation Distances, and Hydrogen Explosions. The three Task Groups working on these items are as follows: 

  1. NFPA 2 Task Group 9 – LH2
    TG9 Scope statement: Task Group #9 - Liquid Hydrogen
    Scope: This task group would evaluate existing codes relative to LH2 and address the short-term (A2010) and long-term (beyond A2010) gap analysis for inclusion into NFPA 2 and other standards. Focus will be on differences between liquid hydrogen (LH2) and gaseous hydrogen (GH2) that would necessitate additions and updates to NFPA 2. Use of LH2 would be limited to small-scale generation (for consideration as a reserved chapter) and include storage, loading, unloading, vaporization, and dispensing as GH2 and LH2 at points of use. Responsibilities could include dialogue with the research community, identification of differences w risk implications, definition and development of tables and text.

  2. NFPA 2/NFPA 55 Joint Task Group 6 – Separation Distances
    TG6 Scope statement
    Joint NFPA Hydrogen Technology Technical Committee (HYD) and Industrial and Medical Gas (IMG) Technical Committee Task Group on Hydrogen Storage System Safety
    Task Group #6 - Code Gaps - Separation Distances/Joint IMG
    Scope: Validate or revise the existing prescriptive hydrogen separation distances in NFPA 55 using new research and investigate use of risk informed processes.

  3. NFPA 2 Task Group 10 – Hydrogen Explosions
    TG10 Scope statement: Task Group #10 - Hydrogen Explosions Scope: To develop scientifically-based and practical H2 explosion prevention and mitigation measures for inclusion in NFPA 2 and other NFPA documents as appropriate. Assess the impact of code provisions proposed for NFPA 2 and existing provisions in applicable NFPA codes and standards (ie. 52/55/853/45/68/69/86/88A/502/et al.##s) related to the risk of hydrogen explosions.

All three task groups will be meeting in late January at NFPA Headquarters, Quincy, Massachusetts to continue their work. This series of three in person meetings will occur back-to-back. 

NFPA 2 Task Groups may include experts outside the Hydrogen Technologies Committee. If you have an interest in contributing to this work, please contact Paul May at pmay@nfpa.org

Hydrogen Industry Panel On Codes (HIPOC) Update
Karen Hall, National Hydrogen Association

HIPOC is presently very active due to the publication of the Report on Proposals for NFPA 2 and is addressing an outstanding issue from the ICC Public Hearings in October 2009, in order to develop coordinated comments for consideration at the ICC Final Action Hearings in May 2010 in support of the HIPOC position. HIPOC held a web-based meeting on January 13 to advance these and other issues relating to harmonizing requirements.

HIPOC voted to prepare and submit a public comment relating to F175. This proposal was recommended for rejection by the ICC Fire Code Committee because the documents referenced in the proposed change are not yet published standards. 

HIPOC also voiced an interest in holding an In-Person meeting in conjunction with the 2010 NHA Hydrogen Conference and Expo. Staff is exploring the options. For more information on the Conference, see related article

Upcoming Significant Dates:

  • ICC – Fire Code comment closing: February 8, 2010.
  • NFPA 2 – Comment Closing Date: March 5, 2010.
  • NFPA 2 – Report On Comments Meeting: April 19-23, 2010 at NREL in Golden, CO.
  • NHA 2010 Hydrogen Conference and Expo – May 3-6 in Long Beach, CA.
  • ICC Meeting: May 14-23, 2010 in Dallas, TX.
  • NFPA 2 – ROC Posting Date: August 27, 2010

HIPOC makes their discussions available to the hydrogen community by posting approved minutes from HIPOC teleconferences and meetings on the HIPOC page of www.hydrogenandfuelcellsafety.info and by reporting regularly to the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Codes & Standards Coordinating Committee. This provides opportunities for interested parties to contribute to and understand the basis of HIPOC positions in preparation for NFPA and ICC Code Development activities. 

The next Web-based meeting for HIPOC is scheduled for February 3, 2010 at 12:00-2:00PM ET (9:00-11:00AM PT). For more information relative to HIPOC activities or to participate in the February meeting, contact Paul May (pmay@nfpa.org) or Karen Hall (hallk@hydrogenassociation.org).

The Hydrogen Industry Panel on Codes (HIPOC), created in February 2006, has the goal of extending, and to the best extent practicable, harmonizing hydrogen code and standard development activities within the ICC and NFPA. 

The two primary objectives of the HIPOC are to:

  1. Review current codes applicable to the storage, dispensing, use and handling of hydrogen in and around fixed-facility applications to the degree they apply to the codes developed by the ICC and NFPA.

  2. Develop or facilitate industry-sponsored proposals or positions that revise or otherwise harmonize the appropriate, reasonable and enforceable model health and safety provisions of the International Codes and codes developed by NFPA that affect or relate to the storage, dispensing, use and handling of hydrogen in and around fixed-facility applications, including service stations, parking garages, warehouses, loading areas and similar uses which support vehicular, distributed and portable power applications. Such provisions are to serve as a model for adoption and use by enforcement agencies at all levels of government in the interest of national uniformity.

Organizationally, the Panel is a "virtual" collaborative entity 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 code and standard development committees at the Panel’s request. A website developed to function as a central clearinghouse of information relative to HIPOC activities has been created by the NHA at the location where the NHFCCSCC website and the Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Safety Report are located: (www.hydrogenandfuelcellsafety.info) with links to/from the DOE, ICC, NFPA, NHA and other related websites. 

DOT-DOE Holds Safety Workshop on CNG and Hydrogen Vehicle Deployment and the Lessons Learned
Geoff Bromaghim, National Hydrogen Association

The U.S. Department of Transportation and Department of Energy recently held a workshop on compressed natural gas and hydrogen fuels and the lessons learned for the safe deployment of vehicles in public transit, fleets, and consumer transportation throughout the world. The meeting was held on December 10-11, 2009 in Washington, DC. The workshop’s objectives were to:

  • Coordinate lessons learned by identifying similarities and critical differences between compressed natural gas and hydrogen properties, including CNG-H2 blends, and their industries and applications (e.g., product specifications, tanks, reliability, safety procedures, risk mitigation, and dispensing)

  • Identify additional research to ensure safe use of onboard and bulk storage hydrogen and compressed natural gas tanks

  • Enhance domestic and international harmonization between natural gas and hydrogen codes and standards requirements

  • Collect feedback from demonstration activities and real-world applications

  • Identify future workshops, briefings, educational and communication strategies, as well as collaboration opportunities

The proceedings from this workshop are available for download on the DOE’s website: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/