Hydrogen is a zero-carbon and clean fuel that, when consumed in a fuel cell, produces only water.

Hydrogen can be obtained from a variety of domestic resources, such as natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, and renewable power like solar and wind. It can be used in cars, houses, for portable power, and in many other applications.

The production, transport, storage and use of hydrogen lead to several measurement needs and challenges. The metrological infrastructure for hydrogen is in its infancy.
As for any other fuel, to fulfil the legal metrological aspects (billing and custody transfer in pipeline transport and at hydrogen refueling stations) there is need for calibration facilities and reliable measuring equipment for hydrogen.

Hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles are highly sensitive to the presence of even trace levels of impurities in hydrogen, therefore analytical methods and CRMs need to be developed and validated to perform accurate quality assessment of the fuel. When performing analysis in a laboratory, it is crucial to sample a volume of hydrogen that is fully representative of the fuel dispensed at the station.

Material property measurements are still on going to ensure the compatibility of existing gas infrastructure with hydrogen, therefore reference material and appropriate testing is necessary. Precise detection of leaks during the distribution of hydrogen will be important, particularly if its distribution is carried out via pipelines. Detection of small leaks in equipment or other products that utilise hydrogen is also critical for safety reasons.

Specific measurement challenges for hydrogen are related to flow, gas composition, development of CRM and sampling. These have been, or are being dealt with in the following joint research projects within EURAMET's European Metrology Research Programmes, EMRP and EMPIR:

Examples of relevant standards include:

  • ISO14687: Hydrogen fuel quality - Product specification
  • EN17124: Hydrogen fuel - Product specification and quality assurance - Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell applications for road vehicles
  • ISO19880: Gaseous hydrogen - Fuelling stations
  • OIML R 139-1: Compressed Gaseous Fuel Measuring Systems for Vehicles, Metrological and technical requirements