Scientists at two major German research institutes are extending their analysis laboratories under a new hydrogen (H2) fuel quality assurance scheme.

At the moment, there is no independent lab in Germany with the capacity to determine H2 quality at the levels dictated by stringent international standards.

Under the project, researchers at the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Centre (ZBT) and the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) will upgrade and extend their laboratories to be able to sample and analyse H2 fuel to the necessary specifications.

The renovation work has already begun at the sites in Duisburg and Ulm. 

Compliance

The ‘Hy-Lab’ project plans to evaluate suitable H2 analysis methods and optimise sampling procedures in compliance with international standards, with the associations certifying and regularly verifying the quality of the gas to minimise contamination and maximise the service life of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs).

Over the next two and a half years, the teams will collect and analyse H2 samples along the supply chain to determine key impurities; from production facilities to refuelling stations throughout Germany.

In parallel, comparative measurements will be carried out with international laboratories to create the first independent testing facilities in the country to monitor H2 quality throughout the supply chain.

The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will give €3m ($3.4m) in funding to the project as part of the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.

There are 260 refuelling stations currently in operation, with that count expected to skyrocket to 3,500 by 2025. Germany plans to extend its installed base of around 25 stations to 400 by 2025, when the number of FCVs is anticipated to top 300,000 in the European country.