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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.

Photo of person working with scientific equipment in a laboratory setting.

NREL researcher works on sensor testing apparatus in the Safety Sensor Testing Laboratory. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

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.

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.

Publications and Presentations

The NREL Publications Database offers a variety of documents related to hydrogen and fuel cell safety, codes, and standards. The following selection provides a sampling of journal articles, technical reports, conference papers, and presentations.

Independent Testing and Validation of Prototype Hydrogen Sensors, P.K. Sekhar, J. Zhou, M.B. Post, L. Woo, W.J. Buttner, W.R. Penrose, R. Mukundan, C.R. Kreller, R.S. Glass, F.H. Garzon, and E.L. Brosha, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (March 2014)

Assessment of Commercial Micro-Machined Hydrogen Sensors Performance Metrics for Safety Sensing Applications, H. el Matbouly, F. Domingue, V. Palmisano, L. Boon-Brett, M.B. Post, C. Rivkin, R. Burgess, and W.J. Buttner, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (March 2014)

Humidity Tolerance of Electrochemical Hydrogen Safety Sensors Based on Yttria-Stabilized Zirconia (YSZ) and Tin-Doped Indium Oxide (ITO), L.Y. Woo, R.S. Glass, E.L. Brosha, R. Mukundan, F.H. Garzon, W.J. Buttner, M.B. Post, C. Rivkin, and R. Burgess, ECS Transactions (2013)

NREL Hydrogen Sensor Testing Laboratory, W. Buttner, C. Rivkin, and R. Burgess, DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program 2013 Annual Progress Report (December 2013)

National Codes and Standards Development and Outreach, C. Rivkin, C. Blake, R. Burgess, and W. Buttner, DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program 2013 Annual Progress Report (December 2013)

Component Standard Research and Development, R. Burgess, W. Buttner, and C. Rivkin, DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program 2013 Annual Progress Report (December 2013)

Pressure Relief Devices for High-Pressure Gaseous Storage Systems: Applicability to Hydrogen Technology, A. Kostival, C. Rivkin, W. Buttner, R. Burgess, NREL Technical Report (November 2013)

Onboard Hydrogen/Helium Sensors in Support of the Global Technical Regulation: An Assessment of Performance in Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Crash Tests, M. Post, R. Burgess, C. Rivkin, W. Buttner, K. O'Malley, A. Ruiz, NREL Technical Report (September 2012)

Steering Committee Progress Report on Hydrogen Sensor Performance Testing and Evaluation under the Memorandum of Agreement between NREL, U.S. DOE, and JRC-IET, EC, W. Buttner, M. Post, R. Burgess, C. Rivkin, L. Boon-Brett, V. Palmisano, C. Bonato, and F. Harskamp, NREL Technical Report (December 2012)

Inter-Laboratory Assessment of Hydrogen Safety Sensors Performance under Anaerobic Conditions, W.J. Buttner, R. Burgess, C. Rivkin, M.B. Post, L. Boon-Brett, G. Black, F. Harskamp, and P. Moretto, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (November 2012)

Summary and Findings from the NREL/DOE Hydrogen Sensor Workshop (June 8, 2011), W. Buttner, R. Burgess, M. Post, and C. Rivkin, NREL Technical Report (July 2012)

Standard Hydrogen Test Protocols for the NREL Sensor Testing Laboratory, W.J. Buttner, M. Post, R. Burgess, and C. Rivkin, NREL Brochure (December 2011)

An Overview of Hydrogen Safety Sensors and Requirements, W. J. Buttner, M. B. Post, R. Burgess, and C. Rivkin, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (February 2011)

Interim Report of the SINTERCOM Project, G. Black, L. Boon-Brett, F. Harskamp, P. Moretto, W. J. Buttner, M. B. Post, R. Burgess, and C. Rivkin, Technical Report (published by the Joint Research Centre's Institute for Energy) (2011)

Round Robin Testing of Commercial Hydrogen Sensor Performance Observations and Results, W. J. Buttner, R. Burgess, C. Rivkin, M. B. Post, L. Boon-Brett, G. Black, F. Harskamp, and P. Moretto, 2010 National Hydrogen Association Conference and Expo (May 2010)

A National Agenda for Hydrogen Codes and Standards, C. Blake, International Symposium on Materials Issues in a Hydrogen Economy (May 2010)

A National Set of Hydrogen Codes and Standards for the United States, C. Rivkin, C. Blake, W. J. Buttner, M. Post, and R. Burgess, Presented at the 3rd International Conference on Hydrogen Safety (September 2009)

Buoyancy-Driven Ventilation of Hydrogen from Buildings: Laboratory Test and Model Validation, C. D. Barley, K. Gawlik, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (July 2009)

Test Protocol Document, Hydrogen Safety Sensor Testing (Phase I: Non-Flammable Mixtures), R. Burgess, C. Blake, and C. E. Tracy, NREL Technical Report (September 2008)

Analysis of Buoyancy-Driven Ventilation of Hydrogen from Buildings, C. D. Barley, K. Gawlik, J. Ohi, and R. Hewett, 2nd International Conference on Hydrogen Safety (August 2007)

Analysis of Buoyancy-Driven Ventilation of Hydrogen from Buildings, C. D. Barley, K. Gawlik, J. Ohi, and R. Hewett, 2nd International Conference on Hydrogen Safety (August 2007)

More Information

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

Contact

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