A New Advance in Hydrogen Sensors
T. Anderson, et. al., University of Florida, Department of Chemical Engineering

ANSI Awarded Contract to Expand Hydrogen Codes and Standards Portal
Reprinted from Fuel Cell Works

NFPA Makes Progress on Code Harmonization 

A New Approach To Hydrogen Safety In Europe
Thomas Jordan, Research Centre Karlsruhe (FZK), Karlsruhe, Germany

New on the Shelf: Canadian Hydrogen Installation Code (CHIC)
Reprinted with permission from the Bureau de Normalisation du Québec (BNQ)

National Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Codes & Standards Coordinating Committee Teleconference - June 2007 Minutes
Russell Hewett, NREL

A New Advance in Hydrogen Sensors
T. Anderson, et. al., University of Florida, Department of Chemical Engineering1

Researchers from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and their colleagues have demonstrated a new working system of wireless hydrogen sensors. The sensors, made of commercially available components and specialized sensing materials, are reliable and accurate and have been combined with a user-friendly alarm system that can contact emergency responders.

The Technology
Specialized GaN-based devices with Pt as the sensing metal are used, allowing the system to achieve hydrogen detection at the parts per million level with very rapid response time (within a couple of seconds) and rapid recovery. The system uses Zigbee-compliant transmission protocol because it is designed for sensor networks and can support more wireless nodes than any other standard available on the market. The network can support up to 750,000 nodes, which would be suitable for city-level deployment.

The wireless sensor node consists of the sensor, power management system with back up batteries, and a Zigbee-compliant wireless transceiver. The base station consists of a high sensitivity receiver and intelligent monitoring software that does basic data logging and tracking of each individual sensor. It is able to warn the user of potential sensor failure, power outages and network failures. This is especially useful in facilities for hydrogen storage, hydrogen-fuelled automobile dealerships and future home garages with hydrogen vehicles, and manufacturing plants, where a number of sensors, possibly with each detecting different chemicals, would be required.

The system can be implemented to act as a real time warning system to 911 centers so that the emergency services are able to act immediately to contain any potential threats. It uses an energy-efficient transmission protocol to reduce the power consumption and enable very long lifetime operation using batteries. Experimental results showed that a 150 meter transmission distance can be achieved with 10 mW total power consumption. The entire sensor package can be built for less than $30/unit at production runs of one thousand units, making it extremely competitive in today's market.

The packaged sensors are mounted on a circuit board containing the detection circuit and microcontroller and the wireless transmitter for data collection. All of this is enclosed in a small, low cost plastic package with an opening for the devices to sample the ambient air. Power is supplied from a wall transformer, with a 9V battery backup that can last 15 days. The current transmission protocol is optimized for low power consumption. The current level of the sensor is monitored every 5 seconds and the receiver is enabled to transmit data after sampling, then turned back off for a very low duty cycle. The entire system is shown in Figure 1.

Sensor with sensor device

Sensor and base station

Computer interface with base station

Figure 1. Photos of sensor system

The Network
A web server was also developed to share the collected sensor data via the Internet. The interface of the server program, shown in Figure 2, illustrates the current level of each sensor on the network. If any of the sensor’s current increases to a level that indicates a potential hydrogen leakage, the alarm is triggered. A program was also developed to receive the sensor data remotely. The remote client is able to acquire a real time log of the system for the past 10 minutes, as well as access the full data log via an ftp client. When an alarm is triggered, the client will able to deactivate the alarm remotely by clicking a button on the interface. The server program for the wireless sensor network could also report a hydrogen leakage emergency through phone lines using the computer’s modem to send a message to cell phones, beepers, etc. Future generations of this program will provide more flexibility, including the capabilities for the client to set alarm levels based on allowed hydrogen concentrations.

Figure 2. Interface of online hydrogen level monitoring
(Click to enlarge)

Field tests have been conducted both at University of Florida and at Greenway Ford in Orlando, FL. The outdoor tests at University of Florida have been conducted several times for a period of two weeks, to test a range of possible real world conditions in a more controlled setting. Hydrogen leakage was successfully detected for hydrogen concentrations in a range from 1-100% at the point of the leak and heights ranging from 1-10 ft in an outdoor environment. The setup at Greenway Ford was aimed to test the stability of the sensor hardware and the server software in an operational environment. Several difficulties found during testing have already been improved upon. The sensors have shown good stability for more than 10 months in the outdoor field tests.

In conclusion, a wireless hydrogen sensor network which meets the IEEE 802.15.4 standards has been constructed to transmit data from an arbitrary number of hydrogen sensors to a base station. A user friendly program has been developed to share the data collected by base station to Internet, so that the data can be analyzed and monitored from anywhere with an internet connection. A cell phone alarm has been realized to report any potential hydrogen leakage to responsible personnel. The entire system has been tested for functionality and stability both at the University of Florida and at Greenway Ford in Orlando. Field tests show that the low-power hydrogen sensor can work stably and react quickly to possible hydrogen leakage.

The work at UF is partially supported by ONR (N00014-98-1-02-04, H. B. Dietrich), NSF(CTS-0301178, monitored by Dr. M. Burka and Dr. D. Senich), by NASA Glenn Research Center Grant NAG3-2930 monitored by Mr. Tim Smith, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Dept. of Energy (DE-FG26-05R410962 by Jill Stoyshich), and the Office of Technology Licensing at UF under Mr. Karl Zawoy. The authors would like to thank the management and technical team in the Greenway Ford dealership for their technical support.

T. Anderson, H.T. Wang, B.S. Kang, F. Ren (corresponding author:ren@che.ufl.edu) - University of Florida, Department of Chemical Engineering, Gainesville, FL 32611

C. Li, Z.N. Low, J. Lin2 - University of Florida, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Gainesville, FL 32611

S. J. Pearton - University of Florida, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Gainesville, FL 32611

A. Osinsky, Amir Dabiran, P. Chow - SVT Associates, Eden Prairie, MN 55344

J. Painter - J Painter Consulting LLC, Deltona, FL 32738

ANSI Awarded Contract to Expand Hydrogen Codes and Standards Portal
Reprinted from Fuel Cell Works

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) was recently awarded a new contract to enhance and expand its Hydrogen Codes and Standards Portal (hcsp.ansi.org), a web-based hydrogen data center developed under an initial contract from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The portal provides a single source for information about the various codes, standards, and regulations that apply to the use of hydrogen as fuel. 
The portal supports NREL’s Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and Infrastructure Technologies Program, through which the laboratory works to accelerate the development and adoption of advanced hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen as an alternative fuel has the potential to reduce dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. 

Enhancements to the portal, including a new standards classification structure, will improve overall usability and augment search and browse operations. ANSI will also update the site’s standards and documents to reflect the current needs of the hydrogen community, building code and fire safety officials, product designers, as well as local and state government entities involved in hydrogen and fuel cell technology projects in the United States. An additional key component of the redesign will increase the delivery of hydrogen-related news feeds on the portal. 

“We are very pleased that the Institute will continue to offer its expertise in support of the nation’s energy initiatives,” said Bob Feghali, ANSI vice president and chief information officer. “The Institute has a long and successful track record in delivering responsive solutions to national priorities. A dynamic and flexible site, the hydrogen codes and standards portal stands ready for future enhancements as necessary.”

The new contract was issued by Regulatory Logic LLC, under a subcontract from DoE. The redesign is scheduled to launch in late 2007.

The Hydrogen Codes and Standards Portal is a collaborative project between ANSI, the U.S. Department of Energy and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), other federal agencies, private sector standards developing bodies, and state and local government. For more information, please visit hcsp.ansi.org.

NFPA Makes Progress on Code Harmonization

Government, with many industry partners, has successfully committed significant resources to removing codes and standards obstacles. A recent NHA survey revealed that most companies had none, few, or minor codes and standards issues. However, new problems continually arise as new products enter unprepared markets. Barriers come from differences between codes, the patchwork adoption and recognition of various codes, and inappropriate interpretations of the codes.

Perhaps chief among the codes and standard obstacles is the lack of clarity and sometimes contradicting requirements located within and between different documents. These inconsistencies can lead to permitting disputes and costs and delays.

The NFPA is aware of these problems and has created a joint task force to help address them and develop consistent codes. NFPA 52 is handled by the NFPA Vehicular Fuel Systems committee (VAF). NFPA 55 is managed by the Industrial and Medical Gas Technical Committee (IMG). A joint IMG/VAF task force has been meeting since May of 2006 to resolve the inconsistencies for future editions of the codes. The IMG/VAF task force recently reached agreement about how best to coordinate the codes. The memo below describes this accord.

For an example of the internal inconsistencies and of the different interpretations that can result, and how the IMG/VAF task force’s work will provide relief, we turn to a cellular tower management company considering powering a tower with a fuel cell. The company examined the requirements the new system needed to meet. Keeping in mind the need for occasional repair work, they noticed that NFPA 55 limits welding to no closer than twenty five feet from stored hydrogen. Leaving aside the potential for ‘hot work’ permits, NFPA 52 clearly states that welding work can happen within ten feet of hydrogen, and this within the confines of a gas station with a far greater array of hazards in the vicinity.

The IMG/VAF task force has resolved this issue by placing hydrogen storage requirements entirely under NFPA 55. NFPA 52 will now reference NFPA 55 rather than conflicting with it.

A New Approach To Hydrogen Safety In Europe
Thomas Jordan, Research Centre Karlsruhe (FZK), Karlsruhe, Germany

When it comes to safety, a crash course is usually a bad idea. That is why the European Union is taking the time to chart a clear path for the hydrogen economy to travel down, complete with road signs and traffic laws. 

HySafe is a European Network of Excellence (NoE) which is devoted to theoretical and experimental studies of problems related to the safe public use of hydrogen energy. When the European Commission (EC) met for the 6th R&D Framework Program they decided to create a single project to take a comprehensive approach to hydrogen safety issues. Previous hydrogen safety work had been done in a piecemeal and uncoordinated manner leaving research gaps, uncertainties, and a lack of uniform safety principles from which codes and standards could be developed. The EC established the NoE HySafe to lead European hydrogen safety efforts and serve as a central information clearinghouse.

A NoE is a new tool that aims at bringing together the top partners from Europe to contribute to a given theme, and at integrating them into a lasting partnership. Integration is the main objective of a NoE and is quite different in concept from a research project which has a well defined technical objective, a pre-defined schedule, and financial plan from the very beginning to the end. A NoE starts with a topic, a composition, a rough structure, and a budget. The partners decide the division of labor and scope of work on a yearly basis.

HySafe is one of the first IPHE recognized projects and currently the only one dedicated to safety aspects. Funding for HySafe is set for a five year period that began in the spring of 2004. One objective of the five year funding period is to find out whether there is enough support to convert the network into a self-sufficient organization. The HySafe network partners are convinced that this support exists and are discussing how to structure the organization after the project expires.

The consortium consists of 25 partners from 13 countries including industry, research organizations, universities, and government agencies. It acts as partner of the European Union and has an independent Advisory Council of distinguished experts outside the network as well as representatives from industry and government. Some 100 scientists are involved in the consortium’s integration work.

HySafe participates in a wide range of activities. Chief among them are:

  • Developing, harmonizing and validating methodologies for safety assessments;
  • Undertaking safety and risk studies; 
  • Establishment of a hydrogen incident and accident database; 
  • Creation of a set of specialized research facilities; 
  • Identification of a set of specialized complimentary codes and models that can be used for safety studies; 
  • Promoting fundamental research necessary to address hydrogen safety issues; 
  • Extracting net outcomes from safety and risk assessment studies as input to EU-legal requirements, standards and codes of practice; 
  • Organizing training and educational programs on hydrogen safety, including on-line mode (e-Academy); 
  • Disseminating the results through the HySafe website, a Biennial Report on Hydrogen Safety, and a Biennial International Symposium on Hydrogen Safety.

Current Activities
HySafe is already engaged in many of the activities listed above. For example, the “HySafe InsHyde” project was launched to investigate realistic indoor hydrogen leaks and associated hazards, and to provide recommendations for the safe use of indoor hydrogen systems including mitigation and detection means. The main result of this project is a guide of good practices for hydrogen use in a confined space. A new garage test facility was built, with instrumentation, injection device, and safety measures. First tests using helium as a model fluid were performed in March 2007. The results are used as input to the work of WG 13 (Hydrogen sensors) of ISO TC 197 (Hydrogen detectors). Other projects underway include:

To establish the nature of the hazard posed by hydrogen vehicles inside tunnels and its relative severity compared to that posed by traditionally powered (hydrocarbon internal combustion) vehicles.

Biennial Report on Hydrogen Safety (BRHS)
The first version of this “handbook” has been released. The report may be downloaded from the HySafe website www.hysafe.net/brhs

International Conference on Hydrogen Safety (ICHS)
While safety is one topic among many in most conferences on hydrogen or fuel technology there was no dedicated hydrogen safety conference until the First International Conference on Hydrogen Safety was held in Pisa in 2005. The success proved that there was a significant demand for this work. The second ICHS will be held from September 11 to 13, 2007, in San Sebastian (Spain).

Education and training
The e-Academy is organizing the second European Summer School for Hydrogen Safety 30 July to 8 August 2007 in Belfast, UK. The curriculum has been iterated and the first post graduate course for hydrogen safety has been launched. Details are given onwww.hysafe.net/pgc. Additionally, the HySafe network offers safety short courses in combination with major events like the World Hydrogen Energy Conference (2006 in Lyon, France) or the European Hydrogen Energy Conference (2007 in Maastricht, The Netherlands).

HySafe Safety Action Plan
HySafe offers support for all kind of projects that address different aspects of hydrogen safety. Projects HyApproval and HyPer, which are developing a handbook for the safe hydrogen refuelling station and the handbook for permitting (small) stationary hydrogen installations, have been peer reviewed by a group of HySafe experts. One workshop for the hydrogen high temperature production project HYTHEC was organized in autumn 2006, a second one will be organized in summer 2007. A guideline for the demonstration projects in the EC Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) is under preparation, the reporting system based on the same guideline and the HIAD incidence and accident database will a part of the safety action plan.

Standards and regulations
HySafe experts are attempting to enhance the voice of Europe in the international safety codes and standards committees by establishing improved communication between the experts in the different countries.

Upcoming Activities
HySafe has plans for several upcoming projects as well. HyFrac will examine hydrogen induced materials cracking, HyNano will develop a deeper understanding of solid-state hydrogen storage materials related safety issues; the Hydrogen Cars in Garages project will help form and test code recommendations for the use of hydrogen cars in garages.

New on the Shelf: Canadian Hydrogen Installation Code (CHIC)
Reprinted with permission from the Bureau de Normalisation du Québec (BNQ)

A new Hydrogen Installation Code defining in a comprehensive document the installation requirements of different types of hydrogen installations heralds a new era for the advancement of the Hydrogen Economy in Canada.

Until now, hydrogen installations could only be put in place following approval by the competent authority under an exemption
procedure, a tedious process both for the owner of the hydrogen installation and the regulatory authority.

Published by the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ) as a National Standard of Canada, the Canadian Hydrogen Installation Code (CHIC) [CAN/BNQ 1784-000] will help pave the way for a greater use of hydrogen as an energy carrier by guiding safe design and facilitating the approval process of hydrogen installations across Canada.

"Working together with stakeholders, we can help make hydrogen the fuel of the future" says Randy Dey, from The CCS Global Group, who chairs the technical committee that developed this new document. "The CHIC, which is the first of its kind, fills a gap and provides Canadian industry and regulatory authorities with a much needed tool for use with hydrogen installations."

The need for such a code had been recognized from the outset by the Governments of Canada and Québec, which both sponsored the development of the new code.

“Through the ecoACTION initiatives, our Government is committed to supporting the development of clean energy sources such as hydrogen,” said the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources Canada. “This new code will further facilitate the
commercialization of hydrogen and fuel-cell technologies as well as help build consumer confidence in the use of hydrogen as a clean, safe source of energy.”

"Our government supports the development of consensus based standards as an efficient means towards regulation," maintains
Mr. Raymond Bachand, Minister of Développement économique, de l'Innovation et de l'Exportation du Québec. "The Canadian Hydrogen Installation Code is part of a process that the Québec government has been supporting since 1994 and which is intended to promote the development of hydrogen technologies in Québec."

As an example, the CHIC defines the installations requirements of hydrogen refilling stations that dispense gaseous hydrogen,
whether the hydrogen is produced on site by water electrolysis or natural gas reforming or delivered by truck in a liquid or a gaseous form. It also provides the guidelines for the installation of fuel cells and internal combustion engines that provide emergency or back-up power to commercial buildings and residential homes.

It has been approved by the Interprovincial Gas Advisory Council (IGAC), which represents 14 regulatory authorities across Canada from the federal, provincial and territorial regions.

For more information on how to obtain a copy of the Canadian Hydrogen Installation Code (CHIC), please contact BNQ at the
address shown below or write to the following e-mail address:bnqinfo@bnq.qc.ca.

For technical information, please contact:

Sylvie Gingras, BNQ
Telephone: 418-652-2238, ext. 2655
Fax: 418-652-2292
E-mail: sylvie.gingras@bnq.qc.ca

Natural Resources Canada
Kathleen Olson
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources
Telephone: 613-996-2007

Randy Dey
The CCS Global Group Inc. 
Telephone: 905-847-7811
Email: RDey@ccsglobalgroup.com