Codes and Standards

Codes and standards provide the information needed to safely build, maintain, and operate equipment, systems, and facilities. They help ensure uniformity of safety requirements and give local inspectors and safety officials the information they need to approve systems and installations.

Codes are guidelines for the built environment – buildings and facilities. They are generally adopted by local jurisdictions, thereby achieving the force of law. Codes often refer to or invoke standards for the equipment used within the given built environment.

Standards are rules, guidelines, conditions, or characteristics for products or related processes, and generally apply to equipment or components. Although they’re not regulations, standards achieve a regulation-like status when they are referred to in codes or through other government regulations.

Although hydrogen has been used in industry for decades, its use as a fuel for vehicles or stationary power generation in consumer environments is relatively new. As such, hydrogen and fuel cell codes and standards are in various stages of development. Industry, manufacturers, the government, and other safety experts are working with codes and standards development organizations to prepare, review, and promulgate technically-sound codes and standards for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and systems.

Codes and standards are being adopted, revised, or developed for vehicles; fuel delivery and storage; fueling, service, and parking facilities; and vehicle fueling interfaces. Codes and standards are also being adopted, revised, or developed for stationary and portable fuel cells and interfaces, as well as hydrogen generators.

Several codes and standards-related websites may be of use to individuals who are working with hydrogen systems.

  • The ANSI Hydrogen Codes and Standards Portal. This website provides access to codes and standards that are critical to the jobs of building code officials, permitting officials, and fire safety officials. It contains a listing of codes and standards that are searchable by topic or organization, including information on current status. The information is categorized around the following subjects:
    • Hydrogen and fuel cells infrastructure
    • Transportation applications
    • Stationary applications (other than hydrogen fueling stations)
    • Stationary applications (utilities)
    • Portable applications
  • The DOE Hydrogen Fueling Stations and Telecommunications Permitting Website. This website provides a listing of hydrogen fueling station and telecommunications fuel cell codes and standards searchable by topic or organization. The objective of this website is to help local permitting officials deal with proposed hydrogen fueling stations, fuel cell installations for telecommunications backup power, and other hydrogen projects. A permitting process section seeks to help project developers and the public understand the general procedures involved. Technology overviews of hydrogen fueling station and telecommunications fuel cell use and searchable model code information should provide helpful information for local permitting officials to address project proposals.
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  • The Hydrogen/Fuel Cells Codes and Standards Matrix. This website is dedicated to assist the worldwide community working to develop and interpret fuel cell codes and standards. To that end, this site maintains, on a real-time basis:
    • The status of all fuel cell code and standard activities.
    • Calendar of meetings and other significant dates.
    • Services related to the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Industries.
    • Bulletin board for posting questions and answers of mutual interest.