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Entry into Force of the United Nations Regulation on Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Vehicles- Realization of a New Mechanism for International Reciprocal Recognition -

In October 2013, jointly with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) took part in the formulation of the United Nations Regulation on Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Vehicles (HFCV) for international reciprocal recognition. On June 15, 2015, this United Nations (UN) regulation entered into force.
In the future, countries incorporating the UN regulation into their own laws and regulations will contribute to more efficient procedures in the import and export of tanks for hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles and the like. For example, such products as tanks for vehicle fuel systems are to be accepted based on the laws and regulations of each country if they are produced in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations of each country such as the High Pressure Gas Safety Act in Japan.

Under the High Pressure Gas Safety Act, METI has revised various technical regulations, toward the launch of the full-fledged dissemination of hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen stations on the premise of the assured safety of fuel cell vehicles. Japan is leading the world in contributing to the efforts that have been made since 2014 for realization of the sale of hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles and the commercialization of hydrogen stations.

Regarding regulations on hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles, the global technical regulation on hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles (hereinafter referred to as “GTR”) have been formulated at the UN Economic Commission for Europe Working Party on the Construction of Vehicles (UN/ECE/WP.29), primarily led by the U.S., Japan and Germany since 2007.

Based on this GTR, since October 2013, the United Nations Regulation on hydrogen and fuel cells vehicles (hereinafter referred to as “UNR”) for Reciprocal recognition have been formulated, primarily led by the EU, the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles (OICA), and Japan at the UN/ECE/WP.29.

To ensure the safety of the tanks for vehicle fuel systems, METI, jointly with MLIT, took part in this formulation with the cooperation of entities including the High Pressure Gas Safety Institution of Japan (KHK) and the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc. (JAMA). This UNR entered into force on June 15, 2015.

In the future, countries incorporating the UN regulation into their own laws and regulations will contribute to more efficient procedures in the import and export of tanks for hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles and the like. For example, such products as tanks for vehicle fuel systems are to be accepted based on the laws and regulations of each country if they are produced in accordance with the High Pressure Gas Safety Act in Japan.

The target date for the incorporation of this UNR into the High Pressure Gas Safety Act of Japan is around the spring of 2016.

Reference

1. Key features of the GTR

  1. The GTR is regulation based on the Agreement Concerning the Establishing of Global Technical Regulations for Wheeled Vehicles, Equipment and Parts which can be Fitted and/or be Used on Wheeled Vehicles (Ministry of Foreign Affairs Notice No. 474 of 2000, hereinafter referred to as the 1998 Agreement), which was formulated in Geneva in 1998, and Japan became the first country in the world to incorporate the GTR into domestic law in May 2014 (Japan acceded to this Agreement in 1999). In the future, the contracting parties to the 1998 Agreement may also incorporate this regulation as shared regulation, and the harmonization of vehicle regulations is expected.

    [Contracting parties to the 1998 Agreement (35)]
    Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Canada, China, Cyprus, EU, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Republic of South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America

  2. The maximum fueling pressure at hydrogen stations is 87.5 MPa (or approx. 860 atm) (at approx. 85°C).
  3. The expected lifetime of the tanks is 15 years.
  4. In the GTR, it was decided that responses to the hydrogen embrittlement of metals (a phenomenon in which hydrogen embrittles metals), a huge risk when handling hydrogen at a low temperature (about minus 40°C) and under high pressure (about 70 MPa) according to a new technical finding from recent years, shall be appropriately regulated by each country. Based on the world’s most advanced technical knowledge in the said field, the High Pressure Gas Safety Act requires the use of exemplified safe metal materials as exemplified standards or metal materials equivalent to these materials.

2. Key features of the UNR

  1. The UNR is regulation based on the Agreement Concerning the Adoption of Uniform Technical Prescriptions for Wheeled Vehicles, Equipment and Parts Which Can Be Fitted and/or Be Used on Wheeled Vehicles and the Conditions for Reciprocal Recognition of Approvals Granted on the Basis of These Prescriptions (Treaty No. 12 of 1998, hereinafter referred to as the 1958 Agreement), which was formulated in Geneva in 1958 (Japan acceded to this Agreement in 1998). If the contracting countries and areas to the 1958 Agreement incorporate the UNR into their laws and regulations, international regulation is expected to be further harmonized because this is an agreement for reciprocal recognition.

    [Contracting parties to the 1958 Agreement (50)]
    Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Hungary, Czech Republic, Spain, Serbia, United Kingdom, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Romania, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Greece, Ireland, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Belarus, Estonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Latvia, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, EU, Japan, Australia, Ukraine, Republic of South Africa, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Albania, Montenegro, Tunisia, Egypt, Georgia

  2. The maximum fueling pressure at hydrogen stations is 87.5 MPa (or approx. 860 atm) (at approx. 85°C). The expected lifetime of the tanks is 15 years, which is similar to the GTR.
  3. Similar to the GTR, it was decided that responses to the hydrogen embrittlement of metals shall be appropriately regulated by each country. When incorporating the UNR into the High Pressure Gas Safety Act, these responses are to be treated in the same manner as the GTR.
  4. When formulating the UNR, the following provisions were added in addition to those of the GTR: 1) addition of type approval tests, batch tests, and the like, 2) indication of the maximum fueling pressure for the tanks, and 3) attachment of e-Marks that show conformity to the UNR on the tanks, and other provisions.

Release date

June 15, 2015

Division in Charge

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

Related Information

Industrial Safety

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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