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NREL - National Renewable Energy Laboratory
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Safety, Codes, and Standards

NREL's hydrogen safety, codes, and standards projects focus on ensuring safe operation, handling, and use of hydrogen and hydrogen systems through safety sensors and codes and standards for buildings and equipment.

Safety Sensors

To facilitate hydrogen safety, NREL is testing hydrogen sensors that detect leaks and monitor gas purity at the Safety Sensor Testing Laboratory. Because hydrogen is colorless and odorless, sensors are important for safe hydrogen fueling stations, equipment, and facilities.

NREL researchers are testing fiber-optic sensor configurations resistant to electromagnetic interference. They also are testing protective and self-cleaning overlayer coatings for sensors. For remote hydrogen sensing, NREL is assessing sensor requirements and design options for innovative hydrogen sensor technologies and the feasibility of using analytic techniques.

Other sensor projects include testing wide-area visible hydrogen sensors and low-cost sensor arrays to address the transfer of instrument calibration between devices and the stability of devices over time. NREL explores the application of gettering polymer films for coating onto pipe and joined surfaces, gettering gasket materials based on Teflon composite materials, and incorporating sensor chemicals into coating and gasket materials.

International Collaboration

Scientists and engineers at NREL's Safety Sensor Testing Laboratory collaborate with a variety of partners from industry, academia, and other research organizations to develop and test hydrogen sensor technologies. In addition to partnering with organizations in the United States, NREL has formalized a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) Institute of Energy and Transport in The Netherlands.

This arrangement synergizes the efforts of both laboratories and leverages output by:

  • Minimizing the duplication of R&D efforts and maximizing throughput
  • Increasing international exposure and visibility of results
  • Expanding capabilities and broadening the range of expertise to facilitate information exchange
  • Facilitating the implementation of hydrogen infrastructure by expanding international collaboration among stakeholders.

Highlights of this collaboration include:

  • Eight oral presentations on hydrogen safety sensors at national and international conferences under the auspices of the MOA
  • Seven reports on hydrogen safety sensors published by NREL or JRC, peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals, and conference proceedings
  • Joint partnership in international hydrogen sensor standards development and working groups.

For detailed information about this project, refer to the progress report. More information about NREL's safety sensor work is available in these publications and presentations.

Codes and Standards

NREL facilitates developing and promulgating building and equipment codes and standards for hydrogen systems in commercial, residential, and transportation applications. NREL also provides technical resources to help international standards development organizations.

By developing and promulgating codes and standards, NREL contributes to making hydrogen a more significant energy carrier and fuel. Codes and standards are critical for the commercialization of hydrogen-based products and systems. In support of this, NREL developed national templates for hydrogen codes and standards.

More Information

The following resources offer more information about hydrogen safety, codes, and standards.

Contact: Carl Rivkin 303-275-3839