U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Fuel Cell Technologies Office – Safety, Codes & Standards

Codes and Standards

Currently, thirteen U.S. and two international standards development organizations (SDOs) are developing and publishing the majority of the voluntary domestic codes and standards. These organizations typically work with the public and private sectors to craft standards. In the U.S., the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) coordinates standards development, provides guidance on consensus building, recommends that no more than one standard is developed per technology, and acts as a central point of contact for the harmonization of international standards. Many agencies and organizations are contributing to the development of hydrogen-related codes and standards.

Model Building Codes

The United States has the most comprehensive system in the world to ensure the safety and performance of equipment and buildings for the commercial and residential sectors. This system comprises both voluntary and mandatory development of building codes and equipment standards. As with any new technology, product, or system, the existence of applicable codes and standards is an important enabler to commercialization efforts.

Efforts are underway to support activities at the International Code Council and the National Fire Protection Association for the development and adoption of their family of model codes in the 44,000 jurisdictions in the United States.

Key Codes & Standards

Although hydrogen has well-known properties and has significant economic impact in its role as a chemical, it is rarely used as a fuel—except in the space program. A lack of infrastructure and public confidence in its safety must be overcome. A standard can be defined as a set of technical definitions, guidelines, and instructions for designers and manufacturers. The process of developing a standard, like that for developing building codes, is a consensus process involving a number of experts in the field. Development of compatible standards can overcome industrial barriers to commercialization and ensure public acceptance. International standards facilitate world trade by removing technical barriers and represent the core of the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.

The Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Codes and Standards Matrix is an up-to-date directory of all codes and standards worldwide dealing with hydrogen, fuel cells, and fuel cell-related issues.