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Revision of the Technical Standards for Compressed Hydrogen Filling Stations-Facilitating the development of the stations with liquefied hydrogen tanks-

Toward the full dissemination of fuel cell vehicles and compressed hydrogen filling stations, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) revised the General High Pressure Gas Safety Ordinance and other ordinances under the High Pressure Gas Safety Act so as to meet the needs of introducing liquefied hydrogen tanks, accessory hydrogen freezing equipment, and accumulators made of composite materials at compressed hydrogen filling stations. This revision is expected to facilitate the improvement of such stations in which liquefied hydrogen tanks are introduced.

1. Background of the revision

Toward the full dissemination of fuel cell vehicles and compressed hydrogen filling stations, METI has been advancing the revision of the technical standards concerning such stations, based on the Regulatory Reform Implementation Plan, which was approved by the Cabinet on June 14, 2013.

Concerning the technical standards for the installation of liquefied hydrogen tanks, accessory hydrogen-freezing equipment (precooling equipment), and accumulators made of composite materials at compressed hydrogen filling stations, METI has revised the General High Pressure Gas Safety Ordinance, the Industrial Complex Safety Ordinance, and other regulations, based on the results of the meetings of the technology examination committee (secretariat: High Pressure Gas Safety Institute of Japan) of experts and the High-pressure Gas Subcommittee of the Safety Committee under the Industrial Structure Council.

2. Highlights of the revision (for details, please see the outline of the revision in Appendix)

1) Introduction of liquefied hydrogen tanks

Currently, operators of compressed hydrogen filling stations utilize compressed hydrogen as a raw material. To enhance the efficiency of transportation and storage of the gas, business communities have been requesting the government to allow the use of liquefied hydrogen as a raw material. In response, METI decided to stipulate the following technical standards for liquefied hydrogen tanks, taking into consideration the characteristics of liquefied hydrogen, so as to allow the introduction of liquefied hydrogen tanks at compressed hydrogen filling stations:

  1. Safety measures, e.g., taking measure necessary to block the piping attached to liquefied hydrogen tanks;
  2. Technical standards for equipment layout, e.g., installing a barrier at the tank and between the evaporator and dispenser;
  3. Technical standards for distances, e.g., between a site through which liquefied hydrogen passes and a facility at which fire is handled or between a tanker truck for liquefied hydrogen and the boundary of the premises; and
  4. Standards for managers in charge of safety control of the stations.

2) Introduction of accessory hydrogen freezing equipment (precooling equipment)

Fuel cell vehicles require quick filling of their fuel tanks with highly-pressurized hydrogen. In this process, the accessory hydrogen freezing equipment (precooling equipment) cools the tanks to curb an increase in the hydrogen temperature caused by adiabatic compression of the hydrogen, thereby enabling users to highly efficiently fill their tanks. However, operators of the filling stations are required to keep a certain distance between such equipment and public facilities, but it could be difficult for them to secure such distance due to the limited size of their premises, particularly in urban areas. To address the challenge, METI decided not to require such operators to keep the distance if the equipment satisfies certain requirements, such as use of inert gases as refrigerant.

3) Introduction of accumulators with composite materials

Compressed hydrogen filling stations require accumulators to store hydrogen under high pressure. The current technical standards, as a premise, require operators to use accumulators made of steel or non-ferrous metals as durable materials against hydrogen, and this increases the cost burden on operators. To address the challenge, METI decided to formulate new technical standards for accumulators made of fiber-reinforced plastics as composite materials, which requires operators to provide measures for preventing the accumulators from being deteriorated by radiation heat, ultraviolet light, rain water, and other elements and allows them to install accumulators made of composite materials.

In line with the revision of the technical standards above, METI revised the Operation of the Function Standards and other regulations under the General High Pressure Gas Safety Ordinance. In addition, concerning the available steel materials at compressed hydrogen filling stations, METI expanded the range of temperatures at which operators are allowed to apply steel materials, and it also added heat-resistant steel (SUH660), to which solution heat treatments and aging treatments have been applied, to the category of available steel materials.

Release date

November 20, 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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