NHA Hosts ISO/TC-197 Sessions

By Robert L. Mauro, Executive Vice President, and Karen I. Miller, Program Director, National Hydrogen Association

The NHA was honored to organize and conduct a plenary session for the 1999 ISO/TC-197 meeting and related International Standards Organization (ISO) working groups in conjunction with the 10th U.S. Annual Hydrogen Meeting held in April 1999.

ISO participants were invited to a reception in conjunction with the 10th Annual U.S. Hydrogen Meeting and were offered a discount on meeting registration.

On Monday, 5 April, Working Group 7, Basic Considerations for the Safety of Hydrogen Systems, met to advance a draft document, and to discuss whether the draft should move forward as an International Standard, or a Technical Specification.

It was the opinion of a majority of the members attending the meeting, including the U.S.A., that the WG7 objectives are best served by creating first a Technical Specification. This would enable the working group to put together a comprehensive document which could be used by the other ISO/TC-197 working groups in the development of their work items. The report could then be evaluated in an efficient way prior to being a mandate. As soon as the report is ready, it could be proposed to the TC that it be considered for approval as a standard, if desired. After some discussion, the working group agreed to this approach.

The group reviewed the draft standard. Martin Kesten, the convener of this working group, agreed to incorporate comments from the group for the next draft.

On Tuesday, 6 April, the ISO/TC-197 Plenary session met, chaired by Tapan Bose, Canada, Chairman of Technical Committee 197. After a welcome by Bob Mauro, the Committee began its deliberations. There were 15 representatives from the United States, and representatives from France, Germany, Japan, and Canada in attendance. Following the usual order of business to approve reports, progress reports from the Work Groups were given.

Last year, the NHA submitted a draft standard on Connectors for Vehicle Refueling developed at NHA Codes and Standards Workshops. This item was accepted by ISO in September 1998. At this meeting, it was decided that this item would be a separate work item, but be performed by existing Work Group 5.

During the session, three topics dominated the discussion. The first was how to respond to an IEC task force that has recently been formed to create international standards for fuel cells. The TC-197 decided to form an ad hoc group to discuss and delineate the work among ISO/TC-197, ISO TC-22, and IEC/TC-105 with respect to fuel cells.

The second topic was how to incorporate pressure vessel codes into Work Item 2, Tank Containers for Multimodal Transportation of Liquid Hydrogen. The Committee instructed WG2 to review the pressure vessel codes of Europe, North America, and Japan in order to propose an acceptable solution at the next ISO/TC-197 plenary meeting.

The third was the decision to change the name, scope, and deliverable of Work Item 7, Basic Considerations for the Safety of Hydrogen Systems, with the preparation of a Publicly Available Specification. The scope of the work was to consider safety relevant properties of hydrogen and identifies basic concerns associated with hydrogen use.

The NHA discussed a recent U.S. initiative to create a glossary of terms for fuel cells. This work was started by Dave Conover, recently of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and taken over by the U.S. Fuel Cell Council. It was decided that a similar effort, expanded to include hydrogen and fuel cell terminology, would be useful for ISO. Presently, terms are defined in each draft standard, and are not consistent from one standard to another. It was also decided that the terms as defined by the USFCC would need review from other P-member countries, as terms have different meanings from one country to the next. (An example is the term “tank” versus “container” or “vessel.”) The U.S. agreed to formally propose this as a new work item.

There was much discussion about when and where to hold the next ISO/TC-197 Plenary. Traditionally this is done at World Hydrogen Energy Conference (WHEC), which will be held in Beijing, China, in June of 2000. In addition, Munich, Germany, is hosting HYFORUM 2000. Since there are more P-member countries in Europe than Asia, it was decided there may be merit in holding some meetings in each. Decision for the year 2000 Plenary meeting will be made by vote of the P-member countries, subject to the confirmation of the invitation by these countries. Working group meetings could be held in either location.

Work Group 6, Gaseous Hydrogen and Hydrogen Blends – Land Vehicle Fuel Tanks, met on Thursday, 8 April 1999. A representative from Ford Motor Company was there to give a U.S. automotive manufacturer viewpoint. The draft developed in Vancouver was reviewed again. Comments are being incorporated.

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