From: Eugene Ngai <eugene_ngai**At_Symbol_Here**COMCAST.NET>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Hydrogen Fuel Cell Questions
Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2016 00:29:26 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 01fb01d1e951$cadba4b0$6092ee10$**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <003c01d1e912$90bdb550$b2391ff0$**At_Symbol_Here**>




I have been a Technical Committee member of NFPA 55 for over 10 years. It addresses bulk gaseous hydrogen in Chapter 10 while 7.6.3 for non bulk hydrogen indoors is meant for more than 1 cylinder. A new Hydrogen standard for use a Fuel (NFPA 2) is being finalized this year, it might have some requirements. Under the NFPA extract policy, NFPA 2 must have the same requirements as NFPA55 but they can add additional requirements for the application. There is a joint NFPA2 and 55 meeting on the second week of August to address the standard


I assume that this is a Laboratory environment, it would be impossible to comply with the NFPA 55 separation distances of 50 ft. The more applicable standard is NFPA 45 Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals but even the Chapter 0 requirements are lacking


What is the source of the hydrogen? There have been a few significant incidents involving fuel cell research in the last 10 years. One researcher was filling a cylinder with a gas mixture while a company in CA was selling a H2/O2 high pressure mixture for fuel cell research!


Please see the second half of my article Dangerous Gas Mixtures; Avoiding Cylinder Accidents


Given the low ignition energy of H2/air, grounding and bonding of the entire system must be done and checked on a regular basis


Where are they venting any exhaust gas to? That area must be explosion proof


Many researchers like to use plastic tubing because it is cheap and flexible. I am against this since it is non conductive and flammable


Will the research run unattended overnight?


Eugene Ngai

Chemically Speaking LLC


From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Harry Elston
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2016 4:57 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Hydrogen Fuel Cell Questions




Make sure that you're compliant with NFPA 55 and sensors are located at/near point of use and in the ceiling and high points in the facility.  Whatever your fire marshal recommends for area coverage, double it and change the sensors out twice as often as recommended by the manufacturer as gas sensors are very susceptible to environmental degradation.    




From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Smallbrock, Margaret A.
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2016 2:55 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Hydrogen Fuel Cell Questions


My apologies, it is a 2 sensor system, H2 and O2.


Thank you for asking/clarifying the question.




From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Aaron's Phone
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2016 1:44 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Hydrogen Fuel Cell Questions




I would also use a room O2 sensor for the room.  It helps the team to know if oxygen levels are slipping to dangerous levels because of a H2 leak.  



Aaron Chen, MPH, CIH, FAIHA

Sent from Aaron's iPhone.  

On Jul 28, 2016, at 2:29 PM, Smallbrock, Margaret A. <Margaret.Smallbrock**At_Symbol_Here**SDSMT.EDU> wrote:



I have a researcher who is intending to start work on a hydrogen fuel cell. I want to make sure I have covered all the bases when I talk with him. The hydrogen sensor has already been purchased, but if you can provide any extra guidance, that would be great.


Thank you,


Margaret Smallbrock

Campus Environmental Health and Safety Manager

Environmental Health & Safety

South Dakota School of Mines

501 East St. Joseph Street

Rapid City, SD 57701-3995


605-394-5837 FAX



Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.