The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has been actively participating in the development of a new national code for technologies related to hydrogen dispensing, production and storage. The national code for hydrogen technologies was developed in partnership with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and was released in December as the NFPA 2 Hydrogen Technologies Code.

The project aimed to help developers and code officials become more familiar with hydrogen safety standards by consolidating them into a single central reference document easier to comply with and enforce. In addition, the goal was to increase the national consistency of hydrogen safety standards by reducing variations among different regions and jurisdictions.

“The new code consolidates a variety of existing hydrogen-related NFPA codes and standards requirements into a single document and also introduces new requirements,” said NREL’s Carl Rivkin. “This consolidation makes it easier for users to prepare code-compliant permit applications and to review these applications.”

The NREL is working with others to develop the safety codes

The NREL is working with others to develop the safety codes, standards and mechanisms that will be an important part of increasing widespread commercialization of hydrogen fuel vehicles like the Honda Clarity. Credit: Honda

NREL’s Robert Burgess served as a principal member of the NFPA Hydrogen Technology Technical Committee, and the NREL hosted several of the committee’s meetings.  The NREL facilitates development of building and equipment codes and standards for hydrogen systems in commercial, residential and transportation applications. The organization often provides technical resources to help international standards development organizations like the NFPA. In addition, NREL develops and tests hydrogen safety sensors at the Vehicle Codes and Standards Research Laboratory to detect leaks and monitor the purity of hydrogen gas.

Codes and standards development and safety mechanisms such as sensors will make hydrogen-based products a more significant energy carrier and fuel; they will also be critical to commercialization of hydrogen technology. NREL is advancing the viability of hydrogen through this and other programs on behalf of the DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Program.

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