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New Measure for Promoting Dissemination of Fuel Cell Vehicles-METI revised the technical standards for compressed hydrogen filling stations and compressed natural gas filling stations aimed at encouraging the installation of both filling stations at the same site based on a request from the industry-

On April 21, 2014, 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 General High Pressure Gas Safety Ordinance (hereinafter referred to as the “General Ordinance”) and other ordinances under the High Pressure Gas Safety Act (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”), aiming to deal with the installation of a compressed hydrogen filling station and a compressed natural gas filling station at the same site, and expand the scope of steel types allowed to be used as a material of compressed hydrogen filling stations.

These revisions are expected to promote the development of hydrogen filling stations, including smoother installation of compressed hydrogen filling stations to existing compressed natural gas filling stations.

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. Based on a request from the related industry, on April 21, 2014, METI relaxed the regulations that require businesses to keep a certain distance between a compressed hydrogen filling station and a compressed natural gas filling station when installing them at the same site, and it also took a measure for expanding the scope of steel types allowed to be used as a material for compressed hydrogen filling stations. Details are as follows:

1) Relaxing the regulations concerning the distance between a compressed hydrogen filling station and a compressed natural gas filling station when installing them at the same site

METI revised the General Ordinance and the Industrial Complex Safety Ordinance (hereinafter referred to as the “Industrial Ordinance”), both of which are regulations provided under the Act, aiming to relax the regulations that require businesses to keep a certain distance between the main facility of a compressed hydrogen filling station and that of a compressed natural gas filling station when building them at the same site.

In addition, in line with the relaxation, METI also revised the Operation of Function Standards of the General High Pressure Gas Safety Ordinance (hereinafter referred to as the “Standards Relevant to the General Ordinance”) and the Operation of Function Standards of Industrial Complex Safety Ordinance (hereinafter referred to as the “Standards Relevant to the Industrial Ordinance”).

2) Expanding the scope of steel types allowed to be used as a material of compressed hydrogen filling stations

In June 2013, the Cabinet decided to approve the Regulatory Reform Implementation Plan. The plan includes a measure for developing function standards concerning the scope of steel types allowed to be used as a material for hydrogen filling stations, which is one of the efforts for achieving the goal also set in the plan, titled “Japan’s world’s-fastest dissemination of next-generation vehicles.” Concerning the measure, METI revised the Standards Relevant to the General Ordinance and the Standards Relevant to the Industrial Ordinance.

2. Key points of the revision

1) Relaxing the regulations concerning the distance between a compressed hydrogen filling station and a compressed natural gas filling station when installing them at the same site

The regulations require related businesses to keep a distance of 6 meters between the major high pressure gas facility of a compressed hydrogen filling station and that of a compressed natural gas filling station when building them at the same site, so that any accident that may occur in one facility will not impact the other facility. In order to facilitate the installation of hydrogen filling stations to existing compressed natural gas filling stations the regulations were revised to allow such businesses to shorten the distance as long as the businesses provide alternative measures to prevent such facilities from having an impact on each other, including building barrier walls.

2) Expanding the scope of steel types allowed to be used as a material of compressed hydrogen filling stations

Concerning the scope of steel types allowed to be used as a material for compressed hydrogen filling stations, the Standards Relevant to the General Ordinance and the Standards Relevant to the Industrial Ordinance were revised to additionally cover new copper materials, namely, C3604 and C3771, which are materials scheduled to be used for valves and piping of such stations, on the premise that the scope of pressures and temperatures of the materials when they use them is clearly indicated. In addition, the ordinances were also revised to expand the scope of pressures and temperatures* applied to stainless steels, namely, SUS316 and SUS316L, which are already allowed to be used for compressed hydrogen filling stations.

*Note: The scope of pressures and temperatures refers to those concerning the sections with high pressures and high temperatures near the compressor or high pressures and low temperatures at pre-cooling units, which are provided with compressed hydrogen filling stations.

Release Date

April 21, 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
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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