The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has published a set of safety standards for hydrogen refueling stations. Safety standards are important for three reasons.
First, safety of people and property is the number on priority of the public, of automakers and of fueling station owners and manufacturers. Second, with safety standards in place, customer acceptance will be accelerated. Third, if all hydrogen fueling stations / pumps follow the same uniform safety standards nationwide then the first two objectives will be met.
The SAE defines the safety standards in detail for all light duty vehicles and hydrogen fueling pressures between 5,000 psi and 10,000 psi. The safety guidelines do not as of yet include standards for fueling heavy duty vehicles, motorcycles and forklifts. The proposed standards also do not currently apply to residential hydrogen fueling appliances, though safety standards for these are anticipated within the next two years.
Because most hydrogen fueling stations today are prototype demonstration pumps, they lack uniformity in dispensing times and amount of hydrogen each can dispense per hour or day. According to the SAE, “The goal is to achieve ‘customer acceptable’ fueling, which means a full tank of hydrogen within a reasonable amount of time without exceeding the temperature, pressure, and density (state of charge) limits.”
Having uniform H2 safety standards in place will help acceleration the proliferation of hydrogen fueling stations nationwide. This will help ease the minds of consumers and state regulators as the hydrogen highway network grows during the following decades.