Sandia’s Katrina Groth and Ethan Hecht win inaugural IA-HySafe International Conference on Hydrogen Safety Robert Schefer Best Paper Award
By Jay Keller, FCHEA

Sandia National Laboratories engineers Katrina Groth and Ethan Hecht won the inaugural Robert Schefer Best Paper award at the IA-HySafe International Conference on Hydrogen Safety in October. The award was named after the late Robert Schefer for his significant contributions to understanding hydrogen release behaviors used to validate numerical models as a staff member at Sandia’s Combustion Research Facility.  

Groth and Hecht’s paper, “HyRAM: A Methodology and Toolkit for Quantitative Risk Assessment of Hydrogen Systems” was chosen from 167 submissions to the conference. The selection panel was comprised of seven technical experts from the ICHS scientific committee representing the countries of China, Japan, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany and the United States.

 Groth and Hecht were recently honored at a ceremony held at Sandia. The ceremony was attended by members of Schefer’s family and leadership from the Department of Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office, which funds much of Sandia’s hydrogen codes and standards work.  

“Bob’s turbulent combustion research was a mainstay for computer modelers from day one. The entire hydrogen codes and standards community continues to reference his work,” says Art Pontau, senior manager of Combustion and Industrial Technology at Sandia.  

Schefer, a mechanical engineer, joined Sandia in 1981 and worked in thermofluidics, combustion physics, reacting flow and hydrogen and combustion technology until his death in 2010. His research on turbulent combustion provided data used to validate computer models that are used extensively to validate models of hydrogen releases needed to support hydrogen codes and safety.

 Groth and Hecht’s paper describes the Hydrogen Risk Assessment Model (HyRAM), a methodology and accompanying software toolkit that integrates the risk-assessment process with hydrogen-specific scientific information.

 “To calculate risk, HyRAM uses the physical models validated by Bob Schefer’s data,” says Jay Keller, a former hydrogen program manager at Sandia, now president of Zero Carbon Energy Solutions. “It’s very fitting that the inaugural Bob Schefer award recognizes work that made possible by his significant contributions to the international community for hydrogen codes and standards.”

  US DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office Director Sunita Satyapal shakes hands with Katrina Groth and Ethan Hecht, award recipients, while Jay Keller and Art Pontau look on. (photo credit: Randy Wong)

US DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office Director Sunita Satyapal shakes hands with Katrina Groth and Ethan Hecht, award recipients, while Jay Keller and Art Pontau look on. (photo credit: Randy Wong)

  Sunita Satyapal, Will James, Katrina Groth, Jade Schefer, Ethan Hecht, and Jay Keller.   (photo credit: Randy Wong)

Sunita Satyapal, Will James, Katrina Groth, Jade Schefer, Ethan Hecht, and Jay Keller. (photo credit: Randy Wong)

Credits: Photographer: Randy Wong. 
Write-up courtesy of Patti Koning, Public Relations Officer Manager (Acting),
Sandia National Laboratories/California.

Cleansers Tests
By Karen Quackenbush, FCHEA

With support from the US Department of Energy EERE, the Universities of Connecticut and Hawaii conducted screening tests on four classes of cleansers as part of an existing air impurities evaluation task. 

As has become apparent in the roll out of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), hardware cleanliness is an issue.  The issue applies to hardware potentially used on the vehicle and as part of the infrastructure.  The contaminants on the hardware need to be safely removed.

In an ideal world, the agents used to remove the contaminants should either not be a source of contamination or should be completely removed from the fuel cell systems and the supporting infrastructure.  However, by the nature of the designs this might not be viable.  Therefore, knowledge on the affect these agents have on PEM fuel cells is needed in selecting an appropriate agent.

The Center for Clean Energy Engineering (C2E2) at the University of Connecticut and the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) at the University of Hawaii have leveraged their expertise to screen a number readily available, commercial off the shelf (COTS) cleansers and degreasers to determine if they are likely to adversely affect PEM fuel cell performance and durability.  Readily available, in this context, means on the shelf at major home improvement and supermarket chain stores.

The US Department of Energy EERE and the research team wish to share the data and the results with industry.  To this end, the data has been provided to FCHEA for posting as a Technical Resource in the public domain at

Interview with ISO/TC 197 Chair: Report on 2015 Progress and Outlook for the Future
By Karen Quackenbush, FCHEA

In March 2015, we launched FCHEA’s "Interview with the ISO/TC 197 Chairman" series of articles. The first edition introduced the Chairman, Dr. Andrei V. Tchouvelev and the goals and challenges of the International Technical Committee (TC) on Hydrogen Technologies, ISO/TC 197. The second article focused on the technical work – specifically the family of hydrogen fueling standards presently under development. This third installment takes a look at recent progress and provides a glimpse into what lies ahead.

I asked ISO/TC 197 Chair Andrei V. Tchouvelev to summarize the most significant accomplishments of ISO/TC 197 in 2015. “Over 90 experts and guests from 14 countries attended the 12 working group (WG) meetings and the two day plenary during the week of November 30 – December 4, 2015, in Torrance, California. This is the largest recorded participation of both experts and countries since the inception of our Technical Committee in 1990”, Dr. Tchouvelev reported. “This fact underscores the rising relevance of hydrogen technologies in the global marketplace and the importance of international standardization in this regard, as well as the spirit of openness and teamwork within the TC that brings experts together. Hence, our work benefits from active participation of world-renown experts in establishing sound, evidence-based standard requirements related to gaseous hydrogen fueling stations and components, as well as other important hydrogen energy technologies.” ISO/TC 197 now has 14 working groups with 15 standard development projects.

“Our membership has strengthened despite the withdrawal of Switzerland.  Both the Czech Republic and New Zealand recently became P-members, and the Islamic Republic of Iran (ISIRI) joined as an O-member”, Dr. Tchouvelev noted. In 2015 we made important progress on a couple of key documents. ISO/TR 15916:2015 - Basic Considerations for the Safety of Hydrogen Systems was published and ISO/TR 19880-1: Gaseous hydrogen — Fueling stations — Part 1: General requirements was approved for publication. We are now balloting to publish this document as a Technical Specification, while work continues on the development of an International Standard.  We also reconfirmed a number of published International Standards, and are expecting to move a number of projects to the Draft International Standard (DIS) stage in 2016.”

When asked his opinion on the prospects of staying on such an aggressive schedule with so many active work items, Dr. Tchouvelev expressed his confidence in the dedication of the working group convenors and experts. He also noted that some of the projects engage task groups, with assigned leaders to address specific issues necessary for inclusion in the documents.  “Our work program is very busy”, Dr. Tchouvelev admitted. “Without the hard work of our convenors and working group experts, documents would take much longer to prepare.” He also noted a recent change in ISO procedures which allows Technical Committees more flexibility with regard to the timeframe for certain consultation steps. “When circumstances allow, the Technical Committee may be able to accelerate the process”, Dr. Tchouvelev noted. “For example, the Committee Draft stage, which consists of a 2-month review by TC members, can be skipped if TC 197 decides that there is appropriate justification. In addition, the Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) stage is now skipped by default in ISO.”

Dr. Tchouvelev also noted that in addition to the work items described in the July edition of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Safety Report located here, there have been some New Work Item Proposals (NWIPs) moving forward. ISO 19880-8: Gaseous hydrogen – Fueling stations – Hydrogen quality control has been approved and work has started within a newly formed WG28. In addition, the work has started to revise and amalgamate the existing standards for water electrolysers (ISO 22734-1 and -2, WG26) and hydrogen fuel specifications (ISO 14687 series, WG27) respectively. Lastly, the work will start within WG24 to address Sampling of Gas Impurities and Particulates, as part of the future International Standard requirements for fueling stations.

“Our Working Groups plan to keep very busy throughout 2016”, Dr. Tchouvelev stated. “We are also able to confirm that the 2016 TC 197 Plenary will take place at the European Commission Joint Research Center in Petten, Holland on Dec. 8th and 9th, 2016. There will also be a limited number of parallel Working Group meetings earlier in the week.”

FCHEA will keep interested parties informed of the progress of the developing International Standards throughout the coming year.

DOE Fuel Cell Webinar Reports Available
By Karen Quackenbush, FCHEA

The US Department of Energy Fuel Cell Technologies Office hosts free informational webinars on a variety of technical topics relating to fuel cells and hydrogen infrastructure. There were two webinars held recently that may be of interest to readers of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Safety Report:

  • On December 10, 2015, a webinar introduced the Hydrogen Equipment Certification Guide, a document intended to aid in equipment approval until listed equipment are available for the entirety of equipment and components. Additionally, the webinar also started a public comment phase of the document for soliciting stakeholder feedback in preparation for a September 2016 release.
  • On January 12, 2016, a webinar, titled Assessing Steel Pipeline and Weld Susceptibility to Hydrogen Embrittlement, was held to aid understanding of the impact of hydrogen on structural steel. This webinar discussed the breadth of testing performed at Sandia National Laboratories focused on the effects of hydrogen gas on steel pipelines and welds. The webinar also demonstrated how measured fatigue crack growth laws can be applied to calculate minimum wall thickness needed for steel hydrogen pipelines.

The webinar slides are now available at the DOE-EERE website located here:

The webinar recording will be made available soon.

To access materials or specific details on past or future webinars from the DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office, please visit their website at

Authors of Hydrogen Fueling Paper Receive SAE Safety Award
By Karen Quackenbush, FCHEA

SAE International recently honored the recipients of the Ralph H. Isbrandt Automotive Safety Engineering Award, including the lead author, Jesse Schneider, (BMW); along with co-authors Jihyun Shim (Hyundai); Graham Meadows (IMPCO); Steven R. Mathison (Honda); Michael J. Veenstra (Ford); Rainer Immel (Opel); Morten Wistoft-Ibsen (H2 Logic); Manfred Greisel (Wenger Engineering); Spencer Quong (SQI); Timothy McGuire (MB RDNA); and Peter Potzel (Daimler).

Awards were presented on January 20, 2016 at the Awards and Recognitions Ceremony.

The Ralph Isbrandt Award annually recognizes the author(s) delivering the most outstanding paper at an SAE Society or section meeting on the subject of automotive safety engineering. The 2016 Ralph Isbrandt award recognizes the advancement to SAE literature of the recipients’ SAE World Congress Technical Paper on Hydrogen Fueling, “Validation and Sensitivity Studies for SAE J2601, the Light Duty Vehicle Hydrogen Fueling Standard”.

To view the full article from Green Car Congress, click here:

To read more about the SAE Awards and Recognitions Ceremony honorees, click here:

For the SAE Press Release, click here:

Revised International Technical Report on Hydrogen Safety Published
By Karen Quackenbush, FCHEA

ISO/TR 15916:2015, Basic considerations for the safety of hydrogen systems has been published. This document revises the 2004 version.

ISO/TR 15916:2015 provides guidelines for the use of hydrogen in its gaseous and liquid forms as well as its storage in either of these or other forms (hydrides). It identifies the basic safety concerns, hazards and risks, and describes the properties of hydrogen that are relevant to safety. Detailed safety requirements associated with specific hydrogen applications are treated in separate International Standards.

The document is available for purchase through ISO and CGA.

ISO Link:

CGA Link:

Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Safety Report Launches New Website
By Karen Quackenbush, FCHEA

The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) is pleased to announce a new look for the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Safety Report, a bi-monthly electronic publication which provides information on hydrogen and fuel cell regulations, codes, standards, and related safety information.  The Safety Report website also provides information on the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Codes and Standards Coordinating Committee (NHFCCSCC), a monthly forum for collaborators in the hydrogen and fuel cell codes and standards community.

The re-launched website features modern design and greater functionality, including keyword searching and a new calendar that allows users to add events, meetings, deadlines, and conference information directly to their calendar.

If you have any comments or suggestions for our new website, please contact Eric Parker by email at  If you are not already signed up, please join our Safety Report mailing list at here so that you can receive a notification when the latest issue is published.

National Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Codes & Standards Coordinating Committee Teleconference - November 2015 Minutes (PDF)
Connor Dolan, FCHEA