International Fire Code Update

by Bob Davidson, Davidson Code Concepts, LLC

The International Code Council’s 2018 Committee Action Hearings took place April 15-23, in Columbus, Ohio.

The hearings addressed input on proposed code changes to the 2018 Group A International Codes®. Several proposals to the International Fire Code (IFC) which address fuel cells or hydrogen infrastructure were considered. They include adding appropriate references to NFPA 2; correlating requirements with NFPA 855; modifying the requirements in section 2309.4 so they apply for all hydrogen stations whether they are self-service or filling is done by an attendant; and several modifications to requirements for hydrogen vehicle repair garages and outdoor control areas.

 An important change that was approved will now allow movement of a subassembly upon which the motor fuel tank remains mounted to allow access to other parts of the vehicle that are not a portion of the fuel system shall be permitted without need to defuel and purge the fuel tank.

 There was one hydrogen-related proposal which was not approved. It was a proposal to add an exception to eliminate the extra protection features for hydrogen motor vehicle repair garages in those cases where an analysis has been performed and submitted documenting that flammable mixture of the hydrogen and air will not occur if the hydrogen is released from its tank.

 The results can be viewed here:

Interview with the ISO/TC 197 Chairman

by Karen Quackenbush, FCHEA

In this ninth installment of FCHEA’s "Interview with the ISO/TC 197 Chairman" series of articles, Dr. Andrei V. Tchouvelev makes the case that safety of a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) is affected by its external environment, especially the refueling dispenser.

“FCEV safety considerations need to include complex interoperability with key components of a refueling station”, Dr. Tchouvelev explains. “When FCEV is connected to a dispenser, its compressed hydrogen storage system becomes part of a single system with the dispenser.”

 I asked Dr. Tchouvelev to expand on this idea of the station impacting the safety of the vehicle.

He responded that unlike fueling of a gasoline powered vehicle that depends on the operator to control the fueling, fuel cell electric vehicles have to rely on station process settings and safety protocols.

“Safety and performance of the hydrogen-fuelled vehicle are dependent upon a number of factors controlled at the refueling station, such as fuel quality and quality control; use of an approved fueling connector and protocol, and dispenser performance validation”, he explained.

Because of this, Dr. Tchouvelev has been working closely with experts to inform the United Nations (UN) Global Technical Regulations (GTR) Phase 2 activities of the importance of harmonization with International Standards. He recommends that the next revision of the GTR 13 includes references to relevant ISO/TC 197 standards for the station, dispenser, fuel quality and quality control, and fueling connector.

ISO/TC 197 has a robust set of standardization efforts on hydrogen fueling infrastructure, including components, described here.  As these standards are published, efforts are being made to ensure harmonization with UN GTR 13. An update on the UN GTR 13 was provided in our March 2018 edition of the Safety Report, and is available here.

Dr. Tchouvelev leads TF5 “Recommendations from ISO/TC 197” within the Informal Working Group (IWG) for GTR 13 Phase 2. In collaboration with a number of ISO/TC 197 experts he coordinates the preparation of recommendations for GTR 13 amendments, some of which will be presented and discussed at the upcoming meeting in Seoul on June 26-28, 2018. They include, but are not limited to issues of interoperability, pressure, flammability, detection and stress rupture testing.

Stay tuned for future updates. 

New UL HFS Certification

by Karen Quackenbush, FCHEA

On April 11, 2018, Nel Hydrogen announced that their H2Station® successfully achieved the world’s first UL system certification of a hydrogen fuel dispensing system station.

The Press Release, available here, noted “The certification sets the new industrial norm and benchmark for safety level and legal compliance for hydrogen fueling stations, and enables a faster and more streamlined installation and permitting process in the United States.”

The potential for a new certification system that could streamline installations and the certification process of hydrogen stations was exciting news. FCHEA staff contacted UL for more information, and had a conversation with Ken Boyce, the Director of Principal Engineers for UL’s Energy and Power Technologies division. Mr. Boyce acknowledged that Nel Hydrogen was the first to proactively receive UL system certification for their H2Station. This new certification system paves the way for hydrogen fueling equipment to be deployed safely and more quickly across the globe.

The direct link to the guide is available here. This guide describes the equipment and standards covered by the process. It also clearly describes what is not certified – for example the hydrogen fuel quality.

A certified system will be awarded a Certification Mark by UL, as well as a UL Certificate of Compliance.

ICHS Save the Date

HySafe and the South Australian Government invites you to the unique International Hydrogen Safety Conference 2019 -ICHS2019.

Date: ICHS2019 Adelaide on 24-26 September 2019

Conference Location: Adelaide Convention Centre (ACC)


The 8th International Conference on Hydrogen Safety (ICHS 2019) will be held in Adelaide, Australia on 24-26 September 2019 under the auspices of the International Association for Hydrogen Safety (HySafe). The first seven conferences in 2005 to 2017, succeeded in attracting the most relevant experts from all over the world, by providing an open platform for the presentation and discussion of new findings, information and data on hydrogen safety – from basic research to applied development and from good practice to standardization and regulatory issues.

South Australia has a natural endowment of sunshine and prevailing winds that have attracted substantial investment in renewable energy with over 50% of energy now provided by this segment. Hydrogen is beginning to play a greater role in the transition to clean, safe and sustainable energy systems for energy storage and transport regionally and globally.

The South Australian Government, transport and energy industry leaders and research institutions recognize the emerging opportunity in the coming decade to accelerate the transition to a hydrogen economy and the importance of developing safe methods and appropriate regulatory frameworks to facilitate the transition.

So the conference organizational teams seek papers in a wide range of hydrogen safety topics like (but not limited to) safety of large production and supply chain infrastructure, hydrogen and hydrogen carrier behaviours, physical effects, consequence and risk analysis, incidents, accidents and near misses, hydrogen effects on materials and components, safety of energy storage, power to gas/gas to power related safety issues, , safety solutions for the implementation of hydrogen technologies, risk management, best practices, regulations, codes and standards as well as communication strategies.

All contributions to ICHS 2017 will be evaluated exclusively in the light of their scientific content and relevance to hydrogen safety.

Key deadlines :

  • Conference website open for abstracts submission: June 1, 2018
  • Abstracts deadline: December 31, 2018
  • Abstracts acceptance notification: January 31, 2019
  • Full papers submission: March 31, 2019
  • Paper acceptance notification: June 1, 2019
  • Submission of papers final versions and payment of conference fees: July 15, 2019
  • ICHS Conference: 24-26 September, 2019

Conference website: