Resources for Emergency Responders
Karen Hall, National Hydrogen Association

As the number of hydrogen energy projects grows, the frequency of requests for information for Emergency Responders also grows. Officials in this trusted office seek resources with information on the hazards that may be associated with specific equipment and projects, and how to respond to emergencies. The National Hydrogen Association is pleased to provide a brief review of resources in the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Safety Report.

Emergency Response Guidebook
The US Department of Transportation, Transport Canada, and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation of Mexico (SCT) developed the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG2004) jointly for use by firefighters, police, and other emergency services personnel who may be the first to arrive at the scene of a transportation incident involving a hazardous material. It is primarily a guide to aid first responders in (1) quickly identifying the specific or generic classification of the material(s) involved in the incident, and (2) protecting themselves and the general public during this initial response phase of the incident. The guidebook is available as a PDF file online. Paper copies are also available, without charge to emergency responders, and for a nominal charge to others. For additional information or to download the Guidebook, please visit

The NFPA Guide to Gas Safety
This recently published text book is a safety guide for working with compressed gases, including hydrogen. Emergency response principals and issues are included.

This first-edition Guide includes information, applications, and safety requirements for every technical area, from hazards to use, handling, training, engineering, and emergency response. Created for facility managers, engineers, and responders; and written by a team of gas safety experts, the NFPA Guide presents characteristics and guidelines for 48 flammable and toxic gases. The Guide is available for purchase from NFPA. The website is

The California Fuel Cell Partnership Emergency Response Guide - Fuel Cell Vehicles and Hydrogen Fueling Stations
This essential document covers light duty fuel cell vehicles, fuel cell transit buses, and hydrogen fueling stations. It can be found online

The CaFCP is also developing emergency response training materials, and provides first responder training. Please visit the CaFCP website for further information.

ISO TR 15916: Basic Considerations for the Safety of Hydrogen Systems
This published International Technical Report describes the hazards associated with the use and presence of hydrogen, discusses the properties of hydrogen relevant to safety, and provides a general discussion of approaches taken to mitigate hydrogen hazards. The aim of this document is to promote the acceptance of hydrogen technologies by providing key information to regulators and by educating the general public on hydrogen safety issues. It is available for purchase through ISO and several national standard organizations, including ANSI.

Regulators' Guide to Permitting Hydrogen Technologies
This guide currently includes an overview, and modules on Permitting Stationary Fuel Cell Installations and Permitting Hydrogen Motor Fuel Dispensing Facilities. A description of this guide, and links to the documents can be found

Sourcebook for Hydrogen Applications
New technologies, such as the fuel cell, will lead to widespread use of hydrogen as an energy carrier, particularly in transportation. These emerging applications will require hydrogen system designs different from those for established industrial applications. For hydrogen vehicles, onboard hydrogen storage, hydrogen refueling systems and prototype vehicle designs and propulsion technologies are being demonstrated. The Sourcebook for Hydrogen Applications is a unique searchable CD ROM application that provides information to facilitate designing, building, and operating hydrogen systems for these new applications.

The Sourcebook also provides the user with an extensive listing of the Codes and Standards for the U.S., Canada, and other International certifying bodies, a complete look at fuel Cell technology, a robust listing of suppliers and vendors for hydrogen technologies, and an interactive hydrogen sourcebook for kids.

The Sourcebook can be purchased from Tisec

The Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Codes and Standards Matrix and Database
Developed by Kelvin Hecht, and now under contract to NREL, this website presents hydrogen infrastructure and fuel cell codes, standards and regulations organized by application and geographic location. The Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Codes and Standards Matrix and Database now has a "Quick Reference" feature. The feature permits a user to get quickly to the database of codes and standards for the specific subject of interest (e.g., fuel cells for stationary applications, etc). The web site for the Matrix and Database is

Material Safety Data Sheets
PDF files from Air Liquide, BOC and Praxair are all available under the "Technical Resources" tab of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Safety Report

NHA C&S Workshop Proceedings
The NHA holds regular workshops to discuss the development of safety codes and standards relating to hydrogen energy systems, including the status of validation work. Proceedings are posted online in the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Safety Report. To access past proceedings, including presentations from the workshops, visit

Do you know of a resource that isn't shown above? If so, please contact us with the designation, summary description, and information on how to obtain the resource, and we will be happy to include it in the Safety Report.

ICC Final Action Hearing Results for the 2004/2005 ICC Code Development Cycle
Patrick Serfass, National Hydrogen Association

At the ICC Final Action Hearings, the culminating hearing for modifications to the ICC Family of Codes for the 2004/2005 cycle, hundreds of public safety officials, inspectors, fire chiefs, specialists, government representatives and industry experts were present in Detroit to vote on changes to the model construction modes. Thirty-one code changes involving hydrogen were heard and the results are shown below. Most voting ratified the committee's recommendation from the preliminary Code Development Hearings last March. Those modifications that were "approved as submitted" or "approved as modified" will appear in the 2004/2005 I-codes. Those that were withdrawn or disapproved will not.

Code modifications for the next 18-month cycle (2006/2007) must be submitted to ICC by March 24, 2006.

For descriptions of a selection of the following hydrogen code modifications, please review the March 2005 Hydrogen Safety Report article, "ICC Hearing Actions Result in Win-Win."

Format: (Result of Public Hearings) Result of Final Action Hearings

F27 industrial trucks (AS) AS
F186 update 50A/B reference to NFPA 55 (AS) AS
F187 separation distances & barrier walls (AS) AS
F188 cutoff rooms, where required (AS) AS
F189 canopy storage auto vs. manual discharge (D) D
F190 venting, minimum rate of discharge (AS) AS
F191 venting flow rate (AS) AS
F192 "flammable" gas vs. natural gas detection (AS) AS
F213 DOTn containers for stationary storage (AM) AM
F214 PRD requirements-DOTn exemption? (AM) AM
F215 reformat underground LH2 storage (D) D
F217 seismic vacuum jacket design (AS) AS
F218 corrosion coatings & maintenance logs (AM) AM
F234 pyrophoric gases (AS) AS
F235 h2 systems connected as a building utility service (AS) AS
F236 delete metal hydride storage provision (AS) AS
F237 roof top storage (D) D
F238 distance to flammable gas containers (AM) AM
F249 use of h2 in "closed system" (AS) AS
F256 cutoff rooms, relocate to IBC 419 (AS) AS

G19 general (AM) AM

FG14 piping protection (AS) AS
FG30 piping construction in other I-codes (Part I-D, Part II-AS, Part III-AS) Part I-AS, 
Part II-AS, Part III-AS
FG31 metal hydrides, references (AS) AS
FG32 natural ventilation, improvements (AS) Part I-AS, Part II-AS, Part III-AS
FG33 piping, marking and I.D. (AM) AM
FG34 piping, 300 series stainless (AS) AS
FG35 concealed piping not permitted (AM) AM
FG36 welded joints (D) D
FG37 joints and electrical continuity (AS) AS

M38 delete natural ventilation exception (D) D

F* Code modification proposed for the International Fire Code
G* Code modification proposed for the General section of the International Building
FG* Code modification proposed for the International Fuel Gas Code
M* Code modification proposed for the International Mechanical Code

Format: (Result of Public Hearings) Result of Final Action Hearings
AS - Approved as Submitted
AM - Approved as Modified by the Code Committee at Code Development Hearing
D - Disapproved

All Final Action Hearing Results:

For information on the next ICC Code Development Cycle 2006/2007, visit:

NFPA Sets Research Agenda for Hydrogen Infrastructure Development

The following information is available on the NFPA website, It is being reproduced here with permission from NFPA as a courtesy to interested parties in the hydrogen energy community.

A Research Agenda for Hydrogen Infrastructure Safety

As the development of hydrogen technology reaches the commercial stage, the safety community is exploring the issues surrounding the physical infrastructure, which is and will be constructed to support the widespread use of this technology. The NFPA publishes several codes and standards that directly or as surrogates address the use, handling, and storage of hydrogen.

Among them is NFPA 52 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Vehicular Fuel Systems Code, which, for lack of a specific code for fueling facilities for hydrogen vehicles, is the reference that fire and safety authorities currently turn to for guidance. In 2005, this code is undergoing a complete revision to include requirements for hydrogen fueling operations as well as onboard vehicle safety requirements and there are many technical issues which have arisen during this revision process that reflect overall safety concerns of the community.

The Fire Protection Research Foundation, an affiliate of NFPA, was established in 1982 to enable research projects designed to address problems associated with fire and other hazards, with a particular focus on those addressed by NFPA codes and standards. The Foundation serves as a catalyst for collaborative research and development projects on a wide array of fire safety concerns including research on halon alternatives, flammable and combustible liquids storage, and other fire and safety related topics. The Foundation does not have research facilities of its own, but plays the role of fund developer and program manager for projects which then have a direct communication link to NFPA' s 80 000 members and an early impact on the codes and standards process.

Development of a Research Agenda
On January 25, 2004, the Foundation convened a research agenda planning workshop designed to define a research agenda and road map for hydrogen safety. Members of key NPFA Technical Committees, the fire service, research community, government agencies, and those commercially involved in hydrogen technology were in attendance. The focus of the day-long discussion was on safety regulation of hydrogen technology as it reaches commercialization. Various research and commercialization efforts underway were described, as were the needs emerging in the user community (authorities having jurisdiction). Participants discussed the bridge between these two elements and through presentations, discussion, and written agenda items, developed a prioritized research agenda designed to enable the introduction of hydrogen technology in the codes and standards environment.

Research Prioritization
Appendix 1 lists over 50 research items identified by participants as important in the path toward acceptance of this new technology by the regulatory community. The six top priority items identified by the group were:

  • Assembling the safety requirements currently under development for hydrogen in a variety of storage and occupancy situations into a user-friendly document.

  • Stationary Fuel Cell Siting - appropriate spatial separation of hydrogen fuel used for stationary fuel cell systems in equipment enclosures.

  • Vehicle Refueling Stations - appropriate siting distances, fire separations, and other protection features for stations for vehicle refueling with hydrogen and other fuels.

  • Metal Hydride Storage Safety - appropriate safety precautions for metal hydrides in a variety of storage configurations and occupancies
    Safety of Enclosed Parking Structures - determination of appropriate LFL criteria; assessment of leak rates, and appropriate mitigation/venting strategies

  • Fire Service and AHJ Education - to include a regulatory guide, compendium of case studies of installations, and guidance on acceptable risk assessment tools and techniques.

Next Steps
As the hydrogen community moves towards the commercialization of this technology, the concerns of the safety regulatory community must be addressed. Through the development of information and education in response to the above issues, codes and standards committees will be better equipped to develop appropriate regulation of the safety aspects of this new technology, and facilitate its safe introduction. The Fire Protection Research Foundation will work with the hydrogen community to implement these prioritized research needs.

Research Needs


    • Development of standardized and acceptable risk assessment techniques and tools

    • A hydrogen incident investigation database

    • Compilation and removal of redundancies of all NFPA codes and standards provisions related to hydrogen

    • Study of international codes and standards for application to US

    • Data to inform requirements for siting distances for fuel cell storage in remote locations - compartmentalization, hazards, fire ratings required

    • Hazard analysis of accidental discharge of metal hydrides

    • Ventilation requirements for residential garages

    • Ignitability limits - data supports a higher LFL

    • Refueling stations - separation distances for mixed fuel operations - translation of Sandia research into codes and standards provisions

    • Integrating performance based approaches into codes

    • Training seminars for AHJs

    • Gaseous emissions from vehicles - hazard analysis - toxicity, ventilation requirements

    • Metal hydride storage - hazard analysis

    • Hydrogen generation - siting and infrastructure safety

    • Comparative risk to other fuel types - LNG, LPG

    • Transportation safety of metal hydrides - development of provisions

    • Leak detection technology

    • Leak rates of components

    • Test methodologies for tank storage

    • Homeland security - system vulnerability to terrorist acts

    • Maintenance of vehicles

    • Parking vehicles in enclosed spaces

    • Mobile refueling operations

    • Maintenance of fuel cells and fuel systems in buildings - safe practices

    • HAZMAT response procedures for incidences

    • Fire service education for safe practices related to indoor system siting, indoor fuel facilities manufacturing facilities, and service for systems in buildings

    • Non pre-mixed gas phase hydrogen jet and plume behavior, ignited and un-ignited, moment and buoyancy dominate around structures and people

    • Gas phase hydrogen behavior in enclosures a) sensors/detectors

    • Liquid hydrogen behavior

    • Hydrogen gas quality for PEM and other likely to commercialized fuel cells (long term performance, durability, maintainability)

    • Fueling station components and subsystems long term durability under normal operating conditions (determined by accelerated testing)

    • Non-transportation related safety requirements for hydrogen/fuel cell systems

    • Codes and standards harmonization

    • Performance based codes

    • Effect of catastrophic failure on architectural systems (consider homeland security implications)

    • Behavior of hydrogen leaked within structures , (size and location of combustible cloud)

    • Behavior of hydrogen leaked from storage facilities (small storage units less than 2000 sf)

    • Ignition behavior of hydrogen-air mixtures (under what conditions is mixture ignitable and what ignition source is required)

    • Small flame resistance testing of composite tanks (rather than or complimentary to bonfire testing)

    • Work off CNG instead of 50A (relative fuel hazards)

    • Refueling for indoor industrial applications that allow for easier access to the process

    • Add hydrogen generators - both reformer based and electrolyzers

    • Characterization of component/equipment failures (i.e. release rates) to link to Sandia labs work on impact of releases

    • Hydrogen leak detection

    • Hydrogen fire detection requirements/methods for dispensing stations

    • Use of risk analysis

    • Condense hydrogen codes and standards for simplicity

    • Separation requirements for residential garages

    • Siting of hydrogen storage for stationary backup fuel cell applications (including indoor stationary applications.

    ISO TC 197 Workgroups to Meet in Palm Springs
    Karen Hall, National Hydrogen Association

    ISO TC 197 will be holding its annual plenary meeting on Thursday November 10 in Palm Springs, in advance of the 2005 Fuel Cell Seminar. Four ISO TC 197 Workgroups are also scheduled to meet that week. They are as follows:

    WG 5: Compressed hydrogen surface vehicle refueling connection devices
    Date: 8 November 2005
    Time: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Location: Wyndham Palm Springs Hotel, Meeting room Pueblo A

    WG 9: Hydrogen generators using fuel processing technologies
    Date: 9 November 2005
    Time: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Location: Wyndham Palm Springs Hotel, Meeting room Snow Creek

    WG 10: Transportable gas storage devices - Hydrogen absorbed in reversible metal hydrides
    Dates: 8-9 November 2005
    Time: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Location: Wyndham Palm Springs Hotel, Meeting room Pueblo B

    WG 12: Hydrogen fuel - Product Specific
    Date: 11 November 2005
    Time: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Location: Wyndham Palm Springs Hotel, Meeting room Snow Creek

    Work group members are reminded to notify the WG convenors of their intent to participate.

    Optimizing the Fuelling of Hydrogen Vehicles
    Jesse Schneider, Reprinted courtesy The Fuel Cell Review

    As the automakers focus their efforts on the safety and convenience of hydrogen fueling, it seems inevitable that new methodologies will emerge to yield optimized and standardized fueling for the production of vehicles tomorrow.

    This article addresses how the fueling process for hydrogen vehicles must be managed during the evolution from demonstration to commercial production of hydrogen vehicles. Proper management will maintain customer expectations and help insure deployment as the vehicles are ready for market.

    Download the Article (757Kb PDF)

    This article provided by The Fuel Cell Review. To obtain the full issue or for subscription information email

    • Wednesday, November 16, 2005
    • Wyndham Palm Springs Hotel, Seminar Headquarters Hotel
      888 Tahquitz Canyon Way
    • Continental Breakfast:
      7:00 - 7:30 am
      Meeting: 7:30 - 9:30 am

    NOTE: The In-Person Meeting will be considered to be the November / December Meeting of the National Coordinating Committee (i.e., no teleconference meeting in December).

    Proposed Theme/Topics For Discussion

    (a) Global Technical Regulations (GTR) process and how it fits in overall scheme of things vis-à-vis hydrogen and fuel cells

    (b) Report on Hydrogen Quality work

    (c) Results from the ISO TC/197 Plenary Meeting and report on ISO documents in the "comments" phase

    (d) IEC TC/105 activities, focusing on documents in the "Comments" phase

    (e) Report on USFCC priorities for the fuel cell industry

    (f) NHA priorities

    (g) SAE priorities

    (h) American Petroleum Institute (API) priorities

    (i) Your suggestions
    Photo courtesy Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau

    Meeting Contact Persons

    • Karen Hall
    • Robert Wichert
    • Russ Hewett