I Have a Question


 Question, Response or Comment


Please help me find information on hydrogen flammability limits as a function of temperature (0 to 100 C) and pressure (75 kPa to several atmospheres).  Primarily I need data for mixtures of hydrogen in air.


     Dusan Spernjak, LANL



A: The flammability in air numbers are shown in Flammability and Explosion Limits of H2 and H2/CO: A literature Review by N. Cohen September 9, 1952, The Aerospace Corporation.

    See also

·       Limits of Flammability of Gases and Vapors, US Bureau of Mines, 1952

·       Fundamentals of Hydrogen Safety Engineering I and II

o   Free ebook at www.bookboon.com ; search on hydrogen.


Source: Karen Hall, FCHEA




Q:        How many feet for an approach distance can electrical devices be near hydrogen and hydrogen sealing systems suitable for Class I “Division D” (sic) locations?

If there is a standard for it could you reference it for me? If not what would be the recommended “Best Practice” for this situation?

Tim Embree, Oglethorpe Power


A:        Of course every situation should be reviewed individually to address unique potential hazards, but the most probable answer is 15 feet. Electrical devices beyond 15 feet from a potential hydrogen leak site can be treated as ordinary equipment. Those within 15 feet are to be listed equipment suitable for Class I, Group B, Division 1 & 2 locations.


·        NFPA  70 Chapter 5 – Special Occupancies Article 500

       o   NFPA 497

       o   NFPA 499

·        NFPA  55

·        NFPA  2

       o   NFPA  497

       o   NFPA  70B

[ A specific reference to 15 feet can be found in NFPA  55-2010, Table,  item 7.]



·        Douglas Rode, Hydrogen Safety

·        John Boyd, Boyd Hydrogen



Q: I am on a research of a PEM fuel cell of high temperature. This fuel cell is working by hydrogen, and at the moment, we have some leaks in the device. In the leak pressure test, we have leaks such as 1mbar/min. the leak test is performed with nitrogen and we are frightened to use hydrogen because we do not know if that amount of leaks are suitable. We have been looking for standards or reports in order to determine if it is dangerous to work with hydrogen with such leaks.


I would like to ask you for any help that could help us to define if our amount of leaks is normal and we can work with hydrogen or if it is not possible.




CESA - Compañía Española de Sistemas Aeronaúticos S.A.

A: We use hydrogen gas for all leak tests and use nitrogen gas for high pressure burst tests.

Your leakage rates are low (1 millibar/min = 0.015psi/min = 0.1kPa/min) - this is good.

However, it's not your leakage rate that is the concern for safety, it's the flammable concentration in a given volume that is created by the leak and if this is close to a source of ignition (flame/spark).

We test our system in a well-ventilated area so the volume of air is large compared to the volume of hydrogen that may leak. We must prevent a concentration of hydrogen from reaching the Lower Flammability Limit (LFL) of 4% by volume (LFL = 4% by volume for hydrogen gas), otherwise a source of spark may ignite a fire.

1. Take the volume of the room or test area and calculate how long the 1mbar/min source would have to leak before the room filled with 4% of hydrogen; then determine the minimum ventilation into/out of the room to prevent this.

2. If you can't prevent the flammable concentration due to small volumes, no ventilation, or high leak rates, then you must keep all sources of ignition away from the gas. In the USA, if an electrical component is used around flammable gas, it must be certified to prevent ignition (similar to ATEX in the EU).

3. We use a flammable gas detector when we test. The detector is adjusted to sound an alarm when the gas reaches 2% H2 by volume - we want to take action to prevent the gas from reaching the LFL. We use a calibrated gas for this purpose (we purchase a tank of calibrated 2% H2 by volume pressurized gas and use this to verify our detector each day we test).



altergy systems


Q: I'm looking for information of the best practices for hydrogen safety. We use hydrogen to cool generators for the production of electricity were can I find information specific on these area!! Thanks!

Josué W. Sánchez
Ing. Conservación Predictiva



A: I recommend the following websites:
       1. H2 Incident Reporting and Lessons Learned
       2. H2 Safety Best Practices

Also, the website www.ieee.org has some references to "hydrogen-cooled" turbines






Q: Is there a CSA joint committee for development of stationary fuel cell standards? Specifically interested in standards or standard development regarding hydrogen fittings.


Paul Westmaas

Hiblow USA, Inc.



A: CSA America has an activity, HGV 4  Series for Fuel Dispensing Equipment and Components, which is developing standards to address dispensing hydrogen for hydrogen gas powered vehicles. One standard in that series, HGV 4.10 Performance of Fittings for Compressed Hydrogen Gas and Hydrogen Rich Gas Mixtures, is addressing fittings to be used with compressed hydrogen gas.






Q: I am interested in CE marking for micro fuel cell products. Specifically, I’m wondering to which European Directives such a product will have to be certified.

The Low Voltage directive does not seem to apply in general - micro fuel cell power systems must be < 60 Vdc according to IEC 62282-6-100, and the LVD applies to 50 V and up, but many micro fuel cell systems will be far below 50 V – so what directives must they follow?


Any guidance would be much appreciated.


Meaghan Miller, Angstrom Power



A: Even if your product falls below the scope of the Low Voltage Directive, you still have to address the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive. Hopefully, others seeing this question will provide additional input.





  Q:   I am sabaripandiyan student from National Institute of Technology, trichy, India. In fuel cell data sheet it is shown that the nominal power and maximum power.  If we operate the fuel cell in the maximum rating instead of nominal rating for a long time what will happen? can we operate like that?


A: The exact answer lies with the designers of the fuel cell, and the definitions of terms; “nominal” and “maximum” power.


According to IEC 62282-1 edition 2, Terminology, the accepted international fuel cell glossary,

        RATED POWER – maximum continuous electric output power that a fuel cell power system is designed to achieve under normal operating conditions specified by the manufacturer


You may have a fuel cell that can withstand a peak power for a short duration. Possibly in your case, NOMINAL is being used as RATED, and MAXIMUM for that peak power. You have to check with the designers of your power system. If you can identify the manufacturer of the data sheet and the model number of the fuel cell, we can possibly get a more definitive answer.




  Q:   I want to purchase a fuel cell from USA for my used car in Canada.  Is there some canadian regulation for fuel cells in cars, trucks in Canada?  Is it legal in Canada?

Lucie Legris
Québec, Canada

A:  I know of no regulations for modifying your personal car. Regulations for cars are generally federal regulations for manufacturers addressing issues such as crash worthiness, seat belts, air bags, fleet mileage, etc.


I question whether you will be able to purchase a fuel cell in the USA for your car. Currently most are being hand-made for research and development purposes.



Q:   We are currently developing new materials for DMFC bipolar plates. We are trying to find targets / standards for the same, but upon searching we found that the information is too fragmented. Is there any document or information you have on the bipolar plate standards / DOE targets?

It would be great if you can point us in some direction,
Thanking you for your time,
Vikram Devarajan
Graduate Student
Department of Mechanical Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX. 


A:  For starters, I would suggest CSA America FC1, Fuel Cell Power Systems, Section 2.5

        Strength Test (without rupture, fracture or deformation)

·         Liquid fuel           1 ½ times maximum operating pressure

·         Gaseous fuel

o   Systems operating < ½ psi     3 times maximum operating pressure

o   Systems operating > ½ psi   1.5 times maximum operating pressure


Other potential sources include:

·         US Fuel Cell Council Protocol on Fuel Cell Component Testing

o   www.usfcc.com/resources/Trans-H2Quality-Primer-04-003.pdf

·         IEC Working Group #11

o   Single Cell Test Method for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells

·         IEC 62282-2

o   Fuel Cell Modules




Q:  Thank you for your useful website. I would like to know more about the sea shipment regulations for metal hydride canisters, specifically UN 3479. Would you have more info on that, or could you redirect me?


Thank you,




Dolf Joekes

Mobility Market Manager



A:  UN 3479 addresses liquefied flammable gas ,such as butane.


The United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transportation of Dangerous Goods documents that addresses hydrogen in metal hydrides are:


·         UN 3468  Hydrogen in a Metal Hydride Storage System

·         UN 3478  Fuel Cell Cartridge containing Hydrogen in Metal Hydride


An overview of the subject can be found at www.hydrogenandfuelcellsafety.info/2007/oct/usfcc.asp





  Q:   In my pursuit to get on-board hydrogen from water recognized as a viable efficiency/emissions reduction technology, I have been requested by the EPA to provide documentation on safety standards for this type of fuel cell.

Being one of thousands of such developers, this issue is demanding an official look.

What studies have been done regarding utilizing a hydrogen-oxygen mixture as a catalyst for hydrocarbon fueled engines?

How may I access any safety standards applicable to this technology?

What efforts have been made to address the sheer number of garage-level tinkerers to assist them in their modifications?


Ron Hatton
Wisteria House Products


It is assumed that you are proposing to introduce hydrogen into a modified internal combustion engine. If this is the case, you will want to address:

·        SAE J2578   Recommended Practice for General Fuel Cell Vehicle Safety, and

·        SAE J2579   Recommended Practice for Fuel Systems in Fuel Cell and Other Hydrogen



If you are also generating hydrogen on-board the vehicle, you may also want to address one of the following:

·        CSA International Requirement No. 5.99       Hydrogen Generators,

·        Outline of Investigation UL Subject 2264B    Gaseous Hydrogen Generation Appliances

 – Water Reaction,

·        ISO 16110-1          Hydrogen Generators Using Fuel Processing Technology – Part 1

Safety, or

·        ISO 22734-1          Hydrogen Generators Using Electrolysis Process.


If your question is more specific, we would be happy to help on this Bulletin Board or off-line.




Q:   Can you please let me know the safe distance required for installing an auto gas dispensing station from a residential property, as per Indian Laws?





A:  The Model Building Code in the United States requires a minimum distance of 10 feet between fuel dispensing (gasoline, natural gas or hydrogen) and a service station property line.

Reference: 2006 International Fire Code, Chapter 22 Motor Fuel Dispensing, 2206.7.7.2, 2208.3.1, 2209.3.1

(Locating a service station next to residential property is controlled by local zoning regulations.)





Q:   What is the OSHA Standard for the distance between a fuel station and another building, i.e. mess hall?

armando aguila




A:  More information is needed. What is the fuel? Distance to dispensing site, storage (above ground/underground) or property line?




Q:   I would like to learn about all the necessary entities required to start a fuel cell production facility.


Eswar Reddy D



A:  There are many different types of fuel cells for different applications (stationary on-site power, portable power, automotive power, hand-held electronics, etc,)

Check out:
    About Fuel Cells
    Types of Fuel Cells
    Benefits of Fuel Cells





Q:  Doing a science program for cable outlet. Need 4X3 NTSC video of a hydrogen fueling station, anyone have such video.


Dale West




A:  Try the California Fuel cell Partnership ( www.cafcp.org ).






Q:  I am looking for infos related to fuel cell's reliability in a wider sense.


Marko Gerbec, Ph.d

Jozef Stefan Institute

Ljubljana, Slovenia



A:  If your interested in stationary fuel cell applications, there are some published field data:

a. Long runs: over 8000 hours of continuous operation before a scheduled shutdown for annual maintenance

b. Availability: over 90% ( good time over calendar times ) but you must be careful of the definitions of what in included in "good time".

If your looking for classical reliability data:

a. mean-time-between-forced outages or

b. failure rate ( failures per million operating hours ) there is probably limited data.

If you could be more specific (application & type of data) we will try to find the information.





Q:  I've been working on industrial fire and explosion hazards for 20 years, but I've not done much on hydrogen.

I'm interested in a facility for making fuel cells, and banks of fuel cells, and also compressing hydrogen to perhaps 75 bar, and some high pressure storage.


Immediate questions for me are siting and fire protection for the high pressure tank, ventilation for parts of the building with low and high pressure equipment, and hazardous area classification.


The starting point is to round up the most recent relevant standards.

The British Compressed gases association has a code 33, but there is very little from from European and International standards.


Suggestions of other documents that I really ought to see would be welcome.





United Kingdom






Q: I'm student of Poznan University of Technology in Poland. I'm writing a thesis about applications for fuel cells in automobiles. I'm looking for a actual applications for fuel cells in automobiles. I need specific information, like efficiency, output power, type of propulsion in those vehicles. If you can help me, I will be grateful.

Krzysztof Plociennik



A:  Most of the information that you are requesting is considered confidential

by OEM's; however, you can find some "efficiency" data on a DOE

presentation at


As for "output power" and "type of propulsion", check the DaimlerChrysler F-Cell Home Page at www.daimlerchrysler.com/dccom/0-5-7154-1-73792-1-0-0-135-7145-0-0-0-0-0-0-0.html

Editor (with input from Jesse Schneider, DaimlerChrysler)



Hydrogen generators for marine applications.

Q: Are there any hydrogen generators built for marine power generation?

Carver Richardson



A: Proton Energy (www.protonenergy.com) sells a 2.2  kg/day PEM based water electrolyzer, HOGEN S-series, designed for salt air exposure. It is also CE marked.




A: Voller Energy, this June, will begin prototype testing on a 1 kW environmentally friendly fuel cell that aims to replace commonly used diesel generators in sailing and motor yachts.




Hydrogen generators for the home and car.

 Q: Where do I go to find codes and standards/guidelines for the home H2 generators along with its interface with the home and car?

R. Paul Williamson

University of Montana



A: The answer to your question has three parts:


1. To site a hydrogen generator in a home, it should be "listed" or "approved" by an independent testing laboratory: therefore, look at the UL or CSA standards - UL 2264  A, B or C and CSA FC5, and CSA International Requirements No. 5.99.


Also Proton Energy (www.protonenergy.com) sells a PEM based water electrolyzer, HOGEN S-series, that is CE marked.


2. There is currently no installation standard for hydrogen generators; however, I would use NFPA 853, Installation of Fuel Cell Power Systems, as a guideline. It addresses the same safety issues; piping, shutoff valves, leak detection, alarms, ventilation, etc.


2a. Proton Energy has installed its HOGEN S-series

electrolyzers in residential/demo applications using the National Electrical Code, NFPA 52 & NFPA 55 or the 2003 ICC Codes.



3. The interface with a car is being addressed by the Society of Automotive Engineers, Fuel Cell Standards Committee, Interface Working Group.

See SAE J2600, - J2601, J2783 and J2799-TIR.






Additional information for

"Marine Fuel Processors

Feeding PEM Fuel Cells"

discussion below:

I very much understand that your bulletin board is not to become a forum in which everyone can freely post. I really appreciate this website as it provides a clear and structured overview of CS for all H2/FC applications.


May I add to your replies to Evren Firat that several directives may apply to any type of product since directives often target groups of products. For sure the essential requirements of the Marine Equipment directive (which takes into account the requirements agreed by IMO (international maritime organization) has to be fulfilled, but also others may apply according to the reformer's specifications.

As international standards are aimed at facilitating global trade, CE marking is a result of conformation to the essential requirements of EU directives system. European standards (or EN-IEC) standards may include Annex ZZ indicating to which requirements are related to which clauses of the standard. He should therefore keep in alert on any EN-IEC standards of the working groups you mentioned Lastly (however as an independent source, I don't know whether you are allowed to make references) you may draw his attention to the report No.

CG-D-11-01 of your US coast guard research and development center titled codes and standards for marine fuel cells (although being slightly outdated as it was published in 2001) for him to get a feeling that his question can not be easily explained. In Europe, the Lloyd group is one of the organization which are active on conformity assessment procedures in the area of equipment on ships.


I hope that this information might help him.


All the best


Michel Honselaar




Marine Fuel Processors feeding PEM Fuel Cells

Q:  I am a Student and working on a project, that is about standardization of PEM Fuel Cells fed up with LPG based reformer in order to supply on board electrical energy for sailing yachts.

I need to know the suitable directives; those are required to affix CE seal on such products especially marine applications and also basic requirements in order to enter American market.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Evren Firat



A:  For auxiliary power, I would start with IEC TC105 Working Group #7, to be published later this year as IEC 62282-5-1. Also see Q&A dated 9/20/05 below.



A: Voller Energy, this June, will begin prototype testing on a 1 kW environmentally friendly fuel cell that aims to replace commonly used diesel generators in sailing and motor yachts.






Follow-Up Question


Q: I am so thankful for your answer. But I couldn't  find this IEC TC 105 Working Group #7 to read it out. Is it about CE Mark otherwise something else?
Whose of EU Directives for CE Marking do i need to enter such Reformer based Fuel Cell System into European and then USA Market?

What is the difference between Codes and Standards?

I must write a report about these Topic but i am really confused. The regulation and the required directives for CE, TÜV, DIN and USA look definety similar and complex. However my topic is also about on Sailing Yachts which makes the regulations complexier i think.

I ask you for your help

With my best regards

Evren Firat




You should be confused. You’re asking complex questions, some of which don’t have satisfactory answers.


1.     Codes vs. Standards

The difference between a code and a standard is that a code carries the force of law.


a)    In the US, the standard for a stationary fuel cell is CSA America FC1. State (California, New York, etc.) building codes may require a fuel cell to be certified to this standard if the fuel cell is to be located within a home.

b)    The pressure vessel standard becomes a code (ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code) because it has been incorporated into all 50 states’ regulations.


2.     Markings

The US and Europe use different systems to demonstrate that a product is safe. The US uses an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or CSA, to test products to specific standards and verify compliance. Europe uses self-declaration by the manufacturer that its product meets the applicable European directives.


3.     Standard for Shipboard Fuel Cell Power System

I know of no standard for a shipboard fuel cell, nor code (in the US) that would address onboard equipment. From a practical standpoint; however, the owner, and his insurance company would be very interested to know that this equipment would not be very likely to cause a fire or explosion and was somewhat reliable. To be saleable:


a)    For the US market:       You would have your system evaluated by UL or CSA, and they would probably use portions of CSA America FC1 (stationary) or FC3 (portable) and other considerations for a maritime environment to evaluate your product.

b)    For the European market:     You would have your system evaluated by TUV, and they would determine which directives your product should comply with.


Later this year, TC105 will publish IEC 62282-3-1 (Stationary Fuel Cell Power Systems) and IEC 62282-5-1 (Portable Fuel Cell Power Systems) as the result of its Working Groups 3 and 7 efforts. These documents will almost certainly be adopted immediately as European EN documents.


You are ahead of the curve. The standards will have to catch up. The first system for this application will pave the way for others to follow.




Hydrogen fuel station

Q:  We are planning to construct a Hydrogen Fuel Station at one of our petrol service station, making use of the available spare space. I would like to know what are the safe clearance- distances to be provided between equipments of hydrogen facility and the existing facilities. Where can I find out details on the above- codes & standards. Also, what are the safety considerations to be kept in view while constructing the facility- both operational and installation safety.

B B Raina


Indian Oil Co.



A:  The issues you raise are primarily site specific, so that my comments (although they may be typical) are only applicable for the United States.


This is a major issue in the United States. Clearance distances, are addressed in US state regulations. In most cases, this distance (50 feet from potential hydrogen leak to potential ignition source) had its origin in a decades old standard, NFPA 50 (now incorporated into NFPA 55). Although this criterion was not based on scientific data, it was never challenged because it was typically used in industrial applications where distances were generally not an issue. Now that there are potential hydrogen applications in retail environments, the US Department of Energy (DOE) is sponsoring research to determine an appropriate distance. It is anticipated that changing local regulations will be a slow process.


The National Hydrogen Association recently addressed this subject at its 2006 Fuel Cell Seminar. Presentations from that workshop can be found at: www.hydrogenandfuelcellsafety.info/h2techWorkshop.asp


The US DOE has scheduled a “Workshop on Facilitating Permitting of Hydrogen Fueling Stations” on February 1, 2007 in Sacramento, California hosted by the California Air Resources Board.


A valuable resource may be “Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Permitting Guide: Module 2 – Permitting Hydrogen Motor Fuel Dispensing Facility” which can be found at www.pnl.gov/fuelcells/permit_guide.stm



Hydrogen fuel station Q: Is there a standard for hydrogen dispensing hose? 12.1.06

A: CSA America HGV4.2, Hose and Hose Assemblies for Hydrogen vehicles and Dispensing Systems (Editor)

Hydrogen fuel station/vehicle communications Q: How do I find out the wiring standards for fuel station/vehicle communication so that a vehicle can interface with the station using a comm/ground cable. The type of connector and pin designation information is needed.

A: The Society of Automotive Engineers' (SAE) Fuel Cell Standards Committee is the global leader for standards in this area. Its Interface Working Group is working on the following Standards: 

1. SAE J2600 for refueling devices up to 35 MPa was published in 2002. It covers only the nozzle and receptacle. It does not cover the hardwired

connector used in many demo vehicles.


2. SAE J2601 is in draft form, addresses communications and refueling

protocol. It has selected a wireless link for communication method.


3. SAE J2799 is the technical report for the 70 MPa nozzle and station to vehicle wireless communications to be released in the 1st quarter of



There are no current plans to institutionalize a wired communication scheme.


(Mike Steele/Glenn Scheffler/Jesse Schneider)


Siting Distance for Hydrogen

Q: It appears that there are two types of siting distances; A)those that are dictated by the flame jet (distance to combustible walls, public walkways, etc) where there is a danger from flame and radiant heat and B) those that are dictated by the unignited plume of released gas (distance to ordinary electricals, windows, air vents) where there is a risk of ignition/deflagration/detonation. The Sandia work seems to have caused concern about the existing distances, so people are proposing the "2 hour barrier" in lieu of shorter distances in the table. HOWEVER, that method is not being allowed for the "plume" type problems; e.g.; you will not be able to use a barrier wall to reduce your distance to an air inlet. It seems to me that Mike Swain's work at U of Miami would support reduction of distances for the "plume" type exposures, but I don't see anyone taking action on that. My understanding is that the ICC Ad Hoc Committee concentrated on the "barrier wall" approach to reduce what I'm calling the "Type A" distances. THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE DISTANCE TO AIR INLETS AND WALL OPENINGS WILL STILL MAKE IT IMPRACTICAL TO SITE HYDROGEN IN MANY OF THE APPLICATIONS THAT ARE MOST LIKELY TO APPLY FUEL CELLS TODAY. I am interested in others views on this topic and what can be done to take advantage of what has been learned at U of Miami.

George Earle - Plug Power


A: In september 2004, a report entitled "Hydrogen Clearance Distances" written by Andrei Tchouvelev and a group of Canadian experts was submitted to National Resources of Canada for the Canadian Transportation Fuel Cell Alliances. The report was based, in part, on the work done by Dr. Swain and Sandia Laboratories. It put forth reasonable separation distances and the rational supporting its recommendations, in a code friendly fashion.



Marine Fuel Processors feeding PEM Fuel Cells

Q: Are there any fuel processor and fuel cell standards that apply to marine primary propulsions systems?



A: The simple answer is no. However I would start with Fuel Cell (CSA America FC1 & IEC TC105 WG#3) and Fuel Processor (ISO TC197 WG#8 & WG#9) standards, and then add additional requirements for shipboard equipment from US Navy documents.



h2 permeation/leakage

Q: I am looking for what the DOE calls the "federal enclosed-area safety standard" with respect to hydrogen storage. This is the standard cited in the FreedomCAR project goals.



A: The question relates to a table in a DOE document found at: http://www.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/pdfs/freedomcar_targets_explanations.pdf Under Permeation and Leakage, it appears that the phrase "federal enclosed-area safety standard" should have read "meets applicable standards" just like the targets next to it on the table (ie general rather than specific).



Fuel Cell Primer?

Q: My company is beginning a portable fuel cell project. I am the Safety Coordinator and am having a difficult time finding information on safe manufacturing principles. Can anyone give me a hand?

Bill Kitchen, McDowell Research


A: FOR YOUR OPERATIONS:A.The basics, excellent and free, 1. NASA Safety Standard for Hydrogen and Hydrogen Systems, Guidelines for Hydrogen Design, Materials Selection, Operations, Storage and Transportation (available at www.hq.nasa.gov/office/codeq/doctree/871916.pdf), 2. consult your hydrogen supplier - he should be experienced with handling and transporting hydrogen and filling tanks. B. Other sources of information: CGA, NFPA 55 and ISO TC197 WG#7. FOR YOUR PRODUCT: Review your design with one of the following (depending on size) 1. CSA America FC3 - Portable Fuel Cell Powerplants or 2. IEC TC105 WG#8 - Micro Fuel Cell Power Plants



Codes & Standards Questions

Q: In view of the codes & standards for Fuel Cell system testing, i will like to know what are the critical parameters that is required to establish when we performance testing for stationary power & vehicular applications. As there are a number of standards adopted by different countries, how do we justify which standard is suitable for adoption?

Sok Eng


A1: There are a number of ways that US standards are created, and deemed suitable for adoption. For example, ANSI provides accredidation for expert standards development organizations to develop standards in their areas of expertise. ANSI requires a strict consensus process to ensure a wide range of interested parties have access to the process and can participate in the development and review of draft standards. There are other standards development organizations that also create stakeholder committees and working groups for specific areas, but the bottom line is that they pull together experts in the areas to be covered who agree a standard is needed, and they develop a draft for broader review and input. Often the applicable trade associations are invited to participate to help ensure further concensus building. A standard, say, for hydrogen fuel cells in vehicles might involve participants from the SAE, NHA, and USFCC. In this case, the SAE would likely take the lead in the development of the standard, as they are a standard development organization. Their working groups are open to other experts and interested parties, as long as the participant contributes to the activity. Both the USFCC and NHA have active working groups tracking and contributing to the development of codes and standards for hydrogen energy systems and fuel cells. USFCC members can join this working group. The NHA's activities are open to all interested parties, and are reported monthly at www.HydrogenSafety.info, a free electronic newsletter that provides updates on activities and announcements when codes and standards development organizations are seeking additional experts.

Karen Hall


A2: The answer to your question is related to the regulatory system used in Singapore. Does Singapore develop its own standards or does it adopt standards from different parts of the world? (Product standards from North America typically are designed for independent testing laboratories to certify that a product is safe. EU standards are designed for manufacturers to self-declare that their product is safe. International standards, i.e. IEC, tries to hamonized these differences.) In the final analysis, all these standards are concerned with safety. You must identify potential hazards created by your product, and which standard best addresses those hazards. If you can provide insight on the regulatory system used in Singapore, and your product of interest, I might be able to identify specific standards for your application.



Hydrogen Fuel Injection

Q: To date, there has been considerable time and effort expended with the goal of producing comprehensive, international codes and standards to deal with gaseous hydrogen, in bulk, hydrogen ICE applications and hydrogen fuel cell applications. For over five years, a company in Canada has been selling significant quantities of a hydrogen fuel injection system that uses an advanced electrolyser to split distilled water, then inject the hydrogen and oxygen into the air intake manifold. In the engine, the hydrogen acts as an initiator to promote far more complete combustion of any hydrocarbon powered engine, with significant fuel savings, decreased maintenance expenses and dramatic reduction in tailpipe emissions. My question is this, what protection has been built in to the production of codes and standards to ensure that the legitimate protections required for 5000 psi tanks does not, inadvertently, create huge barriers for products with minimal amounts of hydrogen (22 psi in the case of the Canadian Hydrogen Energy HFI system)? Should there be a separate stream devoted to the creation of appropriate standards for products that use small amounts of hydrogen, and produce that hydrogen only on demand (i.e. no hydrogen is ever stored)? I would be most grateful for any thoughts on this subject and suggestions on how best to solve the dual challenge of ensuring that necessary standards apply to this sort of product - but appropriate standards, at that. Thank you.

Steve Gilchrist


A: Standards dealing with the storage or transportation of hydrogen should have no impact on the application you describe. I would; however, become familiar with the following electrolyzer standards:(1) UL2264/CSA America FC5, Gaseous Hydrogen Generation Appliances;(2) CSA Int'l Requirement No. 5.99, Hydrogen Generators;(3)ISO TC197 WG#8, Hydrogen Generators Using Electrolysis Process. In addition, the following SAE documents might provide safety guidelines for your application:SAE J2578, General Fuel Cell Vehicle Safety; SAE J2579, Fuel Systems for Fuel Cell Vehicles.



occupational and technical skill standards for hydrogen-fuel-cell technicians

Q: I am currently seeking information on the availability of skill standards for technicians who would be working with fuel cell or fuel reformers. Do you know if there are such standards? Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute (SIRTI) and the Spokane Community College are collaborating on the development of a training program. It would be great if we didn't reinvent the wheel. Any information on these kinds of standards?

Cathy Baxter, Ex., Spokane Community College


A1: Several similar programs have been started around the country. Among them are: Naugatuck Valley Community College (1 yr. certificate); Texas Fuel Cell Technology Consortium (2yr. assoc. degree); Stack State College of Technology (assoc. degree); Kattering University. I've asked representatives of the following organizations to respond to your questions if they have additional information: UTC Fuel Cells; General Motors; Plug Power; Fuel Cell Energy; Siemens/Westinghouse; US Fuel Cell Council; US Department of Energy



A2: Another similar program; California State University at Humboldt

Robert Wichert


Safety information on Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Q: I am trying to find all the safety information on Hydrogen fuel cells, Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks Ed Scott Explosive Safety Office/Mission Safety Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC Crane) Harnessing the Power of Technology for the Warfighter Code RP1, Bldg. 2 300 Highway 361 Crane, IN 47522-5001

Ed Scott


A: As a starting point try "Basic Considerations for the Safety of Hydrogen Systems". It is available from www.iso.ch as ISO/TR 15916:2004.




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