Standard Article

Hydrogen safety, codes and standards for vehicles and stationary applications

Fuel Cell Technology and Applications

Hydrogen storage and hydrogen generation

Hydrogen safety, codes and standards

  1. G. Scheffler1,
  2. R. Wurster2,
  3. J. Schindler2

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470974001.f302025

Handbook of Fuel Cells

Handbook of Fuel Cells

How to Cite

Scheffler, G., Wurster, R. and Schindler, J. 2010. Hydrogen safety, codes and standards for vehicles and stationary applications. Handbook of Fuel Cells. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    International Fuel Cells, South Windsor, CT, USA

  2. 2

    L-B-Systemtechnik, Ottobrunn, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


General safety characteristics and considerations of hydrogen systems are presented herein as they relate to fuel cell power generators.

The use of hydrogen in “town gas” dates back to the 1800s. From these early applications to current industrial and aerospace uses, an excellent safety record has been established with hydrogen. As we move forward towards new applications, it is essential that the developers of new equipment recognize the practices currently used by the hydrogen industry and adapt these practices to the development of new products. This article describes design processes and work practices required for the safe operation of hydrogen systems. Furthermore, relevant codes, standards and regulations are compiled and discussed from both North American and European perspectives.

In North America, standards already exist for industrial hydrogen systems and stationary fuel cell power plants. These standards are being revised to expand applicability and new standards are being written for new products, such as fuel cell powered vehicles and portables. Additionally, codes, standards and regulations are being developed to address the installation of hydrogen systems and fuel cell power plants.

Among the regulations and standards addressed from the European perspective are the International Organization for Standardization the International Electrotechnical Commission, European Commission Council Directives and European Accord Europeen Relatif au Transport International des Marchandises Dangereuses Par Route (ADR) regulations.

For vehicles and related infrastructure systems and components different regulations or standards are applicable. In North America, self-certification is the standard procedure to bring vehicles on public roads, whereas in Europe, a whole vehicle type approval is performed either on the basis of an European Economic Community directive or an Economic Commission for Europe regulation, not based on any standards. For the future harmonized certification of hydrogen road vehicles in Europe, work initiated by the European Integrated Hydrogen Project are addressed.

For the approval of stationary hydrogen systems and components, as an example, German jurisdiction and permission procedures for hydrogen refueling stations, the applicable pressure vessel regulations, the type approval and recurrent testing are explained as required instruments.


  • gaseous hydrogen;
  • liquid hydrogen;
  • structured design process;
  • safety;
  • hydrogen embrittlement