New Standards Boost Promise for Hydrogen Fueling Stations
June 16, 2004
The prospect for new hydrogen fueling stations is brightening, due in part to new standards and efforts to standardize fueling systems. In late May, the International Code Council (ICC) approved several new standards relating to hydrogen storage at fueling stations. The ICC International Fire Code now allows hydrogen to be stored in insulated containers underground or as a pressurized gas in tanks mounted in the station's overhead canopy, where any gas leaks would go up and away from the fueling station. It also allows stations to treat metal hydride storage systems the same as gaseous hydrogen systems. The National Hydrogen Association praised the new standards in a June 8th press release (PDF 94 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.
Meanwhile, the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) has launched an incentive program to encourage makers of hydrogen fuel-dispensing nozzles to demonstrate that their systems meet industry standards. The CaFCP is offering to pay four manufacturers for half the cost of third-party testing of their fuel nozzles, up to $25,000 per manufacturer. See the CaFCP press release.
The growing emphasis on hydrogen fueling systems highlights the importance of President Bush's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, which includes a significant effort to advance hydrogen storage technologies. On June 7th, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham toured Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., which is participating in two DOE-funded hydrogen energy research projects. See the DOE press release.
The emphasis on hydrogen fueling has also caused a business casualty: Shell Hydrogen and UTC Fuel Cells announced on June 11th that they will dissolve their joint project, HydrogenSource LLC, which was developing fuel processors for vehicles. The companies say that over the past three years, the hydrogen industry has moved away from on-board fuel processing in favor of on-board hydrogen storage. See the announcement on the HydrogenSource Web site.