Hydrogen Standards Codes and Regulations

Development of hydrogen codes, standards, and regulations are essential when hydrogen becomes a significant energy carrier because they are required to establish a market-receptive environment for commercializing hydrogen-based products and systems. Several studies on hydrogen safety as well as expert opinions stated that hydrogen's safety has been shown to be on a par with the current fuels when proper regulations, codes and standards, and best practices are followed. Tables of codes, standards, and regulations for hydrogen (International, EU, Germany, and USA), are presented in Appendix D.

2.2.3.1 Codes and Standards

A standard is a set of technical definitions, guidelines, and instructions for designers and manufacturers. It is typically voluntary, but has been agreed upon to ensure consistency, compatibility, and safety. Developing a standard is a consensus process involving a number of experts in the field. Once developed, standards are usually incorporated into codes that, in turn, must be adopted by State and local jurisdictions to become legal and binding. Standards are developed by international or national standard organisations, such as ISO, IEC, NFPA, ASME, DIN, etc. Standards are considered as very important by the industry to support the free exchange of goods and services.

The International standards are considered to be the best way to promote the development of a safe "hydrogen society", and a very important standard organisation in this context is the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). For example is the ISO/TC 197. It was created in 1990, and is the technical committee of the ISO responsible for the standardization in the field of systems and devices for the production, storage, transport, measurement, and use of hydrogen. The standards related to fuel cell technologies are prepared by the International Electrotechnical Commission, IEC TC 105. IEC is a global organization that prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. These serve as a basis for national standardization and as references when drafting international tenders and contracts. The scope of IEC TC 105 is to prepare international standards regarding fuel cell (FC) technologies for all FC applications such as stationary FC power plants, FC for transportation such as FC propulsion systems and auxiliary power units and portable FC power generation systems.

2.2.3.2 Regulations

Regulations are normative documents giving general requirements to secure that construction and use of the application is carried out safely. However, regulations do not say how this should be achieved in practice. Standards give more practical rules/guidelines on how safe construction and operation should be carried out. On a national basis regulation includes requirements of a general character, focused on functional requirements, such as the protection of workers, protection of third party and property, etc. There exist International (UN), continental (USA, Europe, Asia etc.) and national regulations.

In the U.S. Federal regulations on the transportation and use of hydrogen there are rules or orders intended to promote safety, compatibility, and efficiency. The two principal regulatory areas regarding transportation safety are both under the Department of Transportation (DOT). Under 49 CFR (1995), the DOT Research and Special Programs Administration regulates pipelines and hazardous materials shipments. The 29 CFR (1996), under the jurisdictions of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates the safe handling of hydrogen in the work place, where hydrogen is classified as a hazardous material.

EU directives are very important regulations. They are considered as normative when they are adapted to national regulations in the different European countries, and they are enforced by national regulatory authorities. So far there are no regulations that specifically address hydrogen applications, and this is also the case for other types of hazardous materials [135]. Safety regulations usually address groups of materials, classified as flammable, explosive, toxic, oxidizing etc. However, requirements given in regulations related to hazardous materials; risk reduction, protection of workers, environment and material values etc. are also normative for hydrogen applications.

2.2.3.3 Status and Development of Hydrogen Standards in Germany

In Germany, there is no particular regulation as well as standardization for the construction and operation of hydrogen installations [168]. These are covered by the existing standards (e.g. DIN) and regulations (e.g. TRG, BImSchG). For example, construction and installations of hydrogen plants are regulated in the Federal Immission Control Act (Bundesimmissionsschutzgesetz, BImSchG). The German standards institute (DIN) involves in the development of the technical committee (TC) of the International Standard Organization (ISO) for hydrogen, i.e. ISO TC 197 ("Hydrogen Technologies"). This includes ISO 14687 ("Airport hydrogen fuelling station"), and ISO 15916 ("Basic requirements for safety of hydrogen system"). Hydrogen as a flammable gas, which is stored either as a compressed gas or as a cryogenic liquid falls under the relevant general regulations. Based on this background in Germany - e.g. compared to France it is comparatively simple to obtain the permission required by hydrogen plants [168, 53].

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