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New Measure for Promoting Dissemination of Fuel Cell Vehicles-METI revised the technical standard for 45 MPa compressed hydrogen containers for transportation vehicles in response to a request from the industry-

As part of the preparation toward full-fledged dissemination of fuel cell vehicles in 2015, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) revised the Fuel Container Safety Rules (hereinafter referred to as the “Rules”) based on the High Pressure Gas Safety Act (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”), as well as revising the Public Notice to Provide the Details of Labels, etc., based on the Fuel Container Safety Rules and the Process of Re-inspection of Containers (hereinafter referred to as the “Notice”), aiming to deal with 45 MPa compressed hydrogen containers for transportation vehicles.

This revision is expected to enhance the utility and convenience of fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen filling stations so that a vehicle or trailer for transporting such hydrogen will be able to transport an increased amount at one time using 45 MPa compressed hydrogen containers.

*Note: One MPa refers to about 9.8 atmospheres.

1. Background and outline

On the premise of the secured safety of fuel cell vehicles, METI has been endeavoring to revise various technical standards toward full-fledged dissemination of fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen filling stations in 2015. In response to a request from the related industry to increase the amount of compressed hydrogen that a vehicle can transport at one time, METI conducted the following measures on March 31, 2014:

1) Standardization of 45 MPa compressed hydrogen containers for transportation vehicles

Under the current technical standard, the maximum pressure for filling compressed hydrogen containers for transportation vehicles or trailers with compressed hydrogen is stipulated to be 35 MPa. However, the related industry requested METI to increase the amount so that vehicles will be able to transport an increased amount of fuel at one time, and since then, it has been requested to modify and improve the standard from 35 MPa to 45 Mpa to meet the demand.

In response, METI decided to revise the Rules based on the Act as well as revise the Notice, aiming to standardize such 45 MPa compressed hydrogen containers for transportation vehicles. In addition, in line with the revision, the Operation of Function Standards of Fuel Container Safety Rules (hereinafter referred to as the “Operation”) will also be revised.

2) Extending the re-inspection period for containers, including compressed hydrogen containers for vehicle fuel systems

In June 2013, the Cabinet approved the Regulatory Reform Implementation Plan, following a recommendation made in the Regulatory Reform Council, which was created as the Prime Minister’s advisory body. The plan includes “harmonization of terms of validity for a vehicle’s mandatory periodical safety inspection concerning fuel cell vehicles and re-inspection for compressed hydrogen containers for vehicle fuel systems in order to realize Japan’s world’s-fastest dissemination of next-generation vehicles” as a specific measure to be executed. In order to deal with these issues, the Rules are to be revised.

In addition, the Rules are also to be revised to expand the re-inspection period of compressed natural gas containers for vehicle fuel systems, liquefied natural gas containers for vehicle fuel systems, and compressed hydrogen containers for transportation vehicles.

3) Additional indication of the type of gas on the general identification sticker concerning a container mounted on the vehicle

METI is to revise the Notice so as to address the measures described above in the Regulatory Reform Implementation Plan, namely, “harmonization of terms of validity for a vehicle’s mandatory periodical safety inspection concerning fuel cell vehicles and re-inspection for compressed hydrogen containers for vehicle fuel systems in order to realize Japan’s world’s-fastest dissemination of next-generation vehicles”

In addition, the Notice is also to be revised to cover compressed natural gas containers for vehicle fuel systems and liquefied natural gas containers for vehicle fuel systems.

2. Major revisions

1) Standardization of 45 MPa compressed hydrogen containers for transportation vehicles

[i] Revision concerning accessory piping (concerning the Rules)
Concerning accessory piping of high-pressure gas containers for transportation vehicles, the Rules are to be revised to add a condition to require the industry to use appropriate materials, based on the consideration of hydrogen embrittlement that may occur in such piping due to high pressure of the gas.
[ii] Revision concerning a test of hydrogen leakage during re-inspection of compressed hydrogen containers for transportation vehicles and containers for accessories thereof as well as re-inspection of the accessories (concerning the Notice)
Concerning inspection of containers filled with hydrogen at a maximum pressure of more than 35 MPa, the Notice is to be revised to limit such inspection to checking using a gas detector, so as to increase the sensitivity of such detectors.
[iii] Introducing a technical standard of Japan Petroleum Energy Center concerning compressed hydrogen containers for transportation vehicles (JPEC-S 0005(2013)) to the Operation (concerning the Operation)
In line with the revision, the Operation is to be revised to include a technical standard of compressed hydrogen containers for transportation vehicles, the maximum pressure of which is 45MPa. At the same time, the Operation will additionally cover a material standard, based on the consideration of hydrogen embrittlement that may occur in such materials due to high pressure.

2) Extending the period for re-inspection of containers, including compressed hydrogen containers for vehicle fuel systems (concerning the Rules)

The Rules are to be revised to change the period for re-inspection subject to containers that have been used for more than four years from “two years and one month” to “two years and two months.”

3) Additional indication of the type of gas on the general identification sticker for a container mounted on the vehicle (concerning the Notice)

The Notice is to be revised to additionally indicate the type of gas to be filled on the general identification sticker for a container mounted on the vehicle.

For further details, see the Japanese language press release.

Release date

March 31, 2014

Division in Charge

High Pressure Gas Safety Office, Distribution and Industrial Safety Policy Group

Related Information

Industrial Safety

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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