NHA Unveils Plans for Codes and Standards Activities
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by Karen Hall, National Hydrogen Association

On November 18, 2003, the NHA Board approved the NHA’s 2004 Program Plan. The U.S. Department of Energy continues to support the industry’s efforts to develop the necessary codes and standards to permit hydrogen production, storage, and use, including siting hydrogen refueling stations.  In 2003, DOE developed a 5-year plan for the development of necessary hydrogen codes and standards.  A solicitation is expected very soon to begin to realize the goals in this plan. There is, however, a fly in the ointment. Due to unprecedented  earmarks in the FY04 Budget for DOE’s Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Program, the desired fourfold increase in funding for the development of hydrogen related codes and standards will not be realized at this time. This is likely to cause a delay in the NHA’s plans as well.

The NHA considers codes and standards development, facilitation and coordination a priority. The NHA works to assist members, other code writing organizations and the Department of Energy in the accelerated adoption of sound safety and performance codes. Specific objectives include:

The NHA currently receives cost-shared funding to support some of our codes and standards activities to avoid duplication of effort and allow hydrogen systems to be sited.  Industry groups that the NHA worked with in 2003 included the International Standards Organization, Society of Automotive Engineers, National Fire Protection Association, the International Code Council, ASME, CSA International, and Underwriters Laboratories. In addition, 2003 saw the US Fuel Cell Council and NHA begin to identify collaborative opportunities, including information exchange and co-sponsorship of meetings and workshops.

Significant progress was achieved in 2003 with the publication of changes in the ICC Model Codes to include hydrogen technologies.  In addition to active NHA participation, stakeholders were kept informed throughout the process through the Hydrogen Safety Report, a monthly electronic newsletter dedicated to hydrogen safety, codes and standards issues.  This report is posted online and made available to all interested parties, including industry, government, code officials, and the public at www.HydrogenSafety.info.

The NHA hosted two safety codes and standards workshops in 2003.   The first on May 30 in conjunction with the Fuel Cell Summit in College Park, Maryland, and the second on September 22 & 23 in Detroit, Michigan, hosted by NHA Sustaining member, NextEnergy.  Proceedings for both meetings were posted on-line at www.HydrogenSafety.info and were also accessible from the NHA home page.

The NHA continued to participate in regular meetings of the Hydrogen Codes and Standards Coordinating Committee (HCSCC), sponsored by DOE to identify and prioritize activities necessary for commercializing and siting hydrogen energy systems.  The NHA hosted the September 2003 in-person meeting in Detroit.

NHA staff attended the U.S. Technical Advisory Group meeting of ISO-TC-197, and the plenary meeting in September during the European Hydrogen Conference in Grenoble, France.  Staff also participated in activities of the Society for Automotive Engineering (SAE).

In the early part of 2003 the NHA member committees were asked to develop priorities for the year. Progress was reported to the Board and Executive Committee on a regular basis.  As the year went on, a growing need for more active committees, facilitated by a restructuring proposal to revitalize existing NHA committees to more closely operate like the successful Codes & Standards Committee, and create active subcommittees, was identified.  Staff took feedback from the NHA Board and committees and drafted a committee restructuring plan for Board approval.  This plan was approved by the Executive Committee and is being used for the selection of committee chairpersons and for the operation of the committees.

Assistance and coordination of the development of consensus codes and standards is considered to be one of the most important member services this Association can provide.  The NHA has in-hand a grant that is expected to support DOE funding of approximately $150,000 for 2004, assuming the budget cuts do not impact this existing critical effort.  Additional cost-share will be solicited from NHA member sponsorships, or other organizations that may be able to fund these activities.  We encourage members with an interest in codes and standards to include sponsorship of one or both NHA Codes & Standards workshops in their budgets for 2004.

Due to the addition of a European Office, the NHA has an opportunity for increased international hydrogen safety, codes and standards activities.  The NHA is seeking approximately $150,000 per year for three years available from DOE to provide a US industry position in international standards activities.  This will be managed by Karen Hall in the UK office, and is expected to include participation in more meetings held in Europe.

The NHA seeks to coordinate codes and standards activities to avoid duplication of effort and enable hydrogen systems to be sited.  This requires coordination with industry groups and standards organizations such as International Standards Organization, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, IEEE, IEA, the U.S. Fuel Cell Council, International Codes Council, Society of Automotive Engineers, and National Fire Protection Association.  In addition, funding under this grant allows for information dissemination of codes and standards activities, which can help gain a broader range of consensus and allow future efforts the benefit of existing and developing work.

The hydrogen community needs to learn from the experiences of hydrogen field tests.  This will be accomplished by reporting on current field tests and technology validations with an emphasis on the safety aspects of the projects including the codes and standards used.

The NHA will hold technical conferences with experts in industry, academia, national laboratories, government laboratories, code organizations, and code officials, to develop new standards for hydrogen technologies.   The NHA has members and staff who are active participants in the International Organization for Standardization and its Technical Committee 197, which is responsible for the presentation and approval of the developed standards.

The NHA will support the International Code Council and the National Fire Protection Association in their efforts to review, develop and promulgate new codes for the use of hydrogen.  This includes providing experts, technical reports, data and other information needed by the Code Officials to complete the development of these new codes.  The NHA will attend any scheduled meeting of the ICC Ad Hoc Hydrogen Committee, as well as NFPA conference calls, and review available materials during the duration of this contract.

The NHA will advance the new codes and standards working groups formed in 2003.  Members will have an opportunity to participate in any of the following efforts:

In 2004 the Annual Conference and H2 Expo USA will be held in Hollywood, California April 26-30.  We are planning for 800-900 attendees.  Session topics will include production, transportation and stationary power, energy storage, transmission, and distribution.  Hydrogen safety, codes and standards will also be an important component of this conference.

Participation by the NHA can add value to projects and demonstrations, particularly in expert oversight, review, and assistance in forming consensus.  The NHA has experience in the development of safety codes and standards, building consensus, conducting workshops, etc.  The NHA will encourage members to consider including the NHA as a participant in project proposals and work statements.  Activities that may be appropriate for the NHA to perform, subject to Board or Executive Committee approval regarding consistency with the NHA mission and goals, may include, but are not limited to the following:

For more information on how you can support the NHA’s codes and standards activities, please contact Karen Hall at khall@ttcorp.com. ©2003. All Rights Reserved. A Publication of the National Hydrogen Association.
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