EIHP Publication at the WHEC XII, Buenos Aires



European Integrated Hydrogen Project (EIHP)

C. Devillers, Air Liquide, Sassenage, France, K. Pehr, BMW, Munich, Germany, J.S. Duffield, EC-Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy, O. Weinmann, HEW, Hamburg, Germany, H. Vandenborre, Hydrogen Systems, Turnhout, Belgium, A. Gonzalez G. C., INTA, Madrid, Spain, R. Wurster, Ludwig-Boelkow-Systemtechnik, Daimlerstrasse 15, D-85521 Ottobrunn, Germany, M. Kesten, Messer Griesheim, Cologne, Germany, F. Heurtaux, Renault, Rueil Malmaison, France, P. Ekdunge, Volvo, Göteborg, Sweden


Hydrogen is seen by many experts as one of the most important energy media of the next century. Providing a closed-loop energy cycle, hydrogen as a renewable energy source, provides the potential for a sustainable development particularly in the transportation sector. Hydrogen-driven vehicles offer the possibility of reducing both local as well as global emissions (greenhouse gases) thus consolidating their potential as part of future transport systems which inevitably have to be based on renewable energy sources. Any changes in the structure of the energy sector are invariably protracted thus rendering it necessary to lay down the foundations for such changes already today. Demonstration projects pave the way for technological improvement while providing the base for general acceptance. There are many hydrogen demonstration projects in Europe, however, they require more effective coordination in order to be successful. The EIHP which is chiefly focused on legislation governing hydrogen is the first step into this direction. The main objectives of the EIHP are to identify deficiencies impeding the harmonization of regulations, guidelines etc.; to coordinate harmonization in the approaches to standardizations on a global scale; to prepare a well-defined basis for discussion with the relevant authorities; and to develop concepts for standardized infrastructure and vehicle components.

1. European Activities on Hydrogen

Europe has gained a leading position with regard to the use of hydrogen technologies. In recent years, European industry has realized several hydrogen vehicle prototypes and demonstration vehicles equipped with internal combustion engines (ICE) and proton exchange membrane fuel cell electric drives (PEMFC) combined with onboard storage systems using compressed gaseous hydrogen (CGH2) or cryogenic liquid hydrogen (LH2). These new developments include passenger vehicle projects by BMW (LH2), Renault (LH2) and ZEVCO (CGH2), van type vehicles by Daimler-Benz (CGH2), Hamburg Hydrogen Association (CGH2), PSA (CGH2) and ZEVCO (CGH2) as well as city buses by Ansaldo (LH2), Daimler-Benz (CGH2), Hydrogen Systems (LH2), MAN (LH2 and CGH2), Neoplan (CGH2). Recently, numerous activities, including retrofit as well as standard production ICE cars, buses and trucks, have also been observed in the field of natural gas (CNG and LNG) which could pave the way to hydrogen.

As many hydrogen vehicle and infrastructure activities are promoted in Europe, the EIHP partners have joined their forces with the aim of improving the coordination of licensing and approval procedures. The participants in this project contribute their technical expertise in the fields of hydrogen drive systems, hydrogen storage and hydrogen-relevant infrastructure components, as well as their extensive experiences gained in dealing with their respective European, national and local authorities during the course of licensing and approval procedures necessary for natural gas and hydrogen transportation projects.

A cross-section of relevant hydrogen-related activities implemented with EIHP partner involvement follows.

Several hydrogen vehicles and their related infrastructure will be demonstrated as part of the Munich Airport Hydrogen Project, an undertaking supported financially by the Bavarian State Government. A liquid hydrogen fueled passenger sedan (BMW) will be operated at Munich Airport. It will be refueled at a fully automatic robot refueling station to be installed by the mineral oil company Aral and other partners (e.g. Linde). In addition to the LH2 passenger car, three articulated apron buses (2 MAN, 1 Neoplan) with compressed gaseous hydrogen storage will be operated at the airport. The necessary hydrogen will be produced by means of electrolysis (GHW) with grid electricity and transferred by high pressure refueling equipment (Mannesmann). The project, unique in its kind, is being conducted between 1997 and 2000.

Two major hydrogen-related projects, coordinated by HEW, are currently under way in the city of Hamburg. For one of the projects approval was gained to operate an LH2 storage system to supply a hydrogen-operated PAFC plant located adjacent to residential areas in Hamburg. It is currently supplying the fuel cell plant as part of a 2˝ year test period funded by EQHHPP. The second project [W.E.I.T., i.e. hydrogen energy transfer from Iceland], initiated by Wasserstoff-Gesellschaft Hamburg and coordinated by the Hamburg Hydrogen Association, concerns itself with the supply of compressed hydrogen to a demonstration fleet of six hydrogen-adapted Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans equipped with compressed hydrogen onboard storage by means of a compressed gaseous hydrogen refueling station (Mannesmann). During the initial phase of this project, hydrogen will be derived from chemical by-product sources. In the second phase it will be generated from renewable electricity in Iceland.

Three LH2 ICE city buses and one LH2 FC boat have been realized. Messer Griesheim designed and delivered the LH2 onboard storage equipment as well as the refueling technology for both the Hydrogen Systems as well as the Ansaldo bus and fuel cell boat while Linde delivered storage and refueling technology for the MAN ICE bus. Added to this, Messer Griesheim has been actively involved in the development, manufacture, implementation and approval of onboard LNG/LH2 storage systems for passenger vehicles (BMW).

In France, two fuel cell driven vehicles have been developed, manufactured, integrated and approved. One of the vehicles is a Renault PEMFC Laguna station wagon equipped with LH2 onboard storage realized by Air Liquide [JOULE project FEVER], while the other is a PSA PEMFC van [JOULE project HYDRO-GEN] with super pressurized gaseous hydrogen contained in a composite materials storage unit (6 % wt.) developed by Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique. Both vehicles operate with De Nora PEMFC stacks. The vehicles are realized by or with involvement of Renault. Volvo is actively involved in contributing energy management, battery evaluation and specification as well as safety analysis as part of the FEVER project.

Two organizations in particular provide effective support in hydrogen applications in general, the second one with special emphasis on the automotive sector: EC’s Joint Research Centre, over many years, has developed and applied computer codes to describe phenomena such as gas pool formation, evaporation and gas cloud formation, atmospheric integration, dispersion, combustion and explosion potentials. INTA has gained extensive experience in recent years in the homologation of several alternative fuel vehicle technologies (e.g. LPG, CNG), while extending its expertise in the testing of hydrogen components for stationary (electrolysis, fuel cells) and mobile applications (fuel cells).

Ludwig-Boelkow-Systemtechnik undertakes the coordination and monitoring of various hydrogen projects, including the Euro-Quebec Hydro-Hydrogen Pilot Project (EQHHPP), the MAN LH2 ICE city bus demonstration in Bavaria, the Bavarian PEMFC city bus project jointly performed by MAN, Siemens and Linde as well as the current EIHP.

Several projects focused on the use of natural gas in vehicles have been conducted by EIHP partners in Europe. As a first in Europe, BMW has achieved Whole Vehicle Type Approval for a CNG passenger car (3-series compact). CNG buses have been manufactured by Renault and Volvo, while an LNG trailer truck has been realized by Renault. In France Air Liquide will be involved in supplying LNG to a CNG city bus fleet, whereas in Germany Messer Griesheim has developed, manufactured, integrated and gained approval for LNG storage systems and refueling equipment for trucks (MAN and Mercedes-Benz); including a refrigerated grocery retail truck equipped with LNG cooling. A BMW natural gas 3-series compact has been converted to LNG storage and is currently being operated by Messer Griesheim.

2. Project history

The first major joint European undertaking with the aim of investigating the potential of hydrogen for clean application technologies including the automotive sector, was the EQHHPP started in 1989 and pursued together with Canadian industry and institutions. During the course of this ongoing project it became apparent that several issues, particularly licensing and approval, had to be tackled more vigorously in order to successfully establish this technology in the market. In order to achieve these objectives in successive phases and to make effective use of the technical experience gained to date, as early as 1995, Wasserstoff-Gesellschaft Hamburg proposed the idea of a Pan-European integrated hydrogen vehicle project with the aim of achieving a common platform for development and implementation of harmonized approaches in achieving standardized codes of practice, pre-normative rules, regulations and approval procedures for licensing hydrogen vehicles and their related infrastructure. European industry and other organizations involved in the development of hydrogen vehicle technologies were invited to take part in evaluating the perspectives for such a project concept.

On the back of the outcome of the discussion process, the present group of participants in the EIHP applied for cost-shared funding under the JOULE program of the European Commission. Wasserstoff-Gesellschaft Hamburg proposed that Ludwig-Boelkow-Systemtechnik GmbH should join the group and organize the coordination, elaboration and submission of a proposal for funding. The proposal was submitted in January 1997 and was selected for contract negotiations by early summer of 1997. The contract negotiation process between the group of partners and the European Commission started late summer of 1997 and was successfully concluded by issuing an agreement laying down the guidelines for cost-shared funding to commence in 1998.

3. Project Objectives

The main objectives of this project are to identify deficiencies impeding the harmonization of guidelines, regulations etc.; to coordinate harmonization in the approaches to standardizations; to prepare a well-defined basis for discussion with relevant authorities; and to develop concepts for standardized infrastructure and vehicle components.

Implementation of hydrogen vehicle and infrastructure technology can only succeed if the coordination of European R&D activities are intensified and technical progress is not hindered by differing regulations and licensing procedures within the EU member states. This project which aims at creating the basis for harmonization of necessary legislation in Europe will be implemented in close cooperation with relevant licensing authorities.

The particular objectives of the EIHP are:

1. To create a Pan-European database of existing regulations and codes of practice

2. To contact other pertinent authorities outside Europe

3. To identify weak spots in today’s technology

4. To define the areas requiring regulation

5. To integrate ECE guidelines and create a basis of ECE regulation of hydrogen vehicles and the necessary infrastructure (replacing national legislation/ regulations)

As a result, proposals for further investigations and improved safety concepts will be compiled together with concepts for standardized infrastructure components, vehicle components and pre-normative rules. The project partners and other future developers of hydrogen vehicles and related infrastructure components will benefit from harmonized rules and licensing procedures as the costs incurred as part of the licensing procedure for their hydrogen related products and installations will be reduced significantly. This will have added advantage of enhancing the acceptance of hydrogen as an energy medium.

4. Technical approach

The project is based on a dual strategy:

One part of the project - a quasi top-down-approach - is focused on the existing hydrogen-related legislation in European countries. Adequate legislation scarcely exists today, particularly in the field of licensing procedures for hydrogen vehicles. Correspondingly, a structured survey and analysis of existing relevant rules, regulations and licensing procedures in the participating countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden) will be conducted with the aim of not only identifying deficiencies but also defining regulations which are already sufficiently comprehensive to facilitate harmonization throughout Europe. The survey will be structured such as to subsequently accommodate corresponding surveys of other countries.

The other part of the project - a bottom-up-approach - is focused on existing hydrogen vehicles in Europe including the infrastructure supply technology. Systematic analyses such as Fault Tree Analysis (FTA), Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA), Hazard Operability Studies (HAZOP) etc. will be conducted and complemented by detailed studies of worst-case scenarios. This will help to document safety features while systematically improving the potential of hydrogen technology, thus creating a more solid basis for discussion with relevant licensing authorities.

5. The partnership and its competence

The consortium participating in the project comprises some of the most experienced companies and institutions actively involved in the fields of hydrogen vehicle applications, hydrogen infrastructure and hydrogen safety in Europe. In alphabetical order the organizations are:

· Air Liquide S.A. (LAL) France, a company specializing in industrial gases and gas technology as well as cryogenic liquid hydrogen covering all aspects of storage, handling and safety of LH2;

· Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) Germany, a manufacturer of high-performance vehicles and a specialist in LH2 vehicle applications for almost 20 years;

· European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (EC-JRC) Italy, a specialist in developing mathematical models of liquid gas spillages, evaporation and gaseous cloud formation, as well as fire and explosion propagation in confined and non-confined environments;

· Hamburgische Electricitäts-Werke AG (HEW) Germany, a utility active in several hydrogen projects, most recently participating in a small fleet demonstration of six vans converted to facilitate compressed hydrogen operation (W.E.I.T. project);

· Hydrogen Systems N.V. (HYDSYS) Belgium, a specialist in hydrogen technologies such as electrolysis equipment, hydrogen use in stationary CHP applications and especially conversion of vehicles for the purpose of hydrogen operation;

· Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA) Spain, the leading institute for the homologation of vehicles in Spain with experience in the approval of gas-operated vehicles as well as hydrogen expertise in stationary applications;

· Ludwig-Boelkow-Systemtechnik GmbH (LBST) Germany, an experienced coordinator of various national and international hydrogen-related projects of the last decade, and author of numerous hydrogen related system studies on hydrogen production from renewable and non-renewable sources, on hydrogen supply, handling and distribution, on hydrogen safety and on hydrogen use in stationary and mobile fuel cell applications;

· Messer-Griesheim GmbH (MESSER) Germany, a leading specialist in cryogenic liquid natural gas and hydrogen technology for vehicle applications;

· Renault France, the leading French vehicle manufacturer and recently engaged in the development of LNG propulsion technology and of a PEM fuel cell driven Renault Laguna with LH2 fuel storage;

· AB Volvo Sweden, the largest Swedish vehicle manufacturer for many years actively involved in the development of alternative fuel drive concepts and recently also engaged in the development of PEM fuel cell drive systems.

6. Project organization

The project is subdivided into eight work packages or tasks:

Task 1: Survey/ analysis of rules, regulations and licensing procedures in all participating countries

Task 2: Analysis of existing and planned H2 safety concepts and technologies

Task 3: Identification of rules and regulations ready for harmonization

Task 4: Identification of deficiencies in rules and regulations

Task 5: Identification of deficiencies in safety concepts and technologies

Task 6: Proposal for investigations to create a basis for standardization

Task 7: Proposal for safety concepts

Task 8: Proposal of pre-normative rules

The eight tasks are coordinated by a project coordinator (Ludwig-Boelkow-Systemtechnik) who also fulfills the function of the liaison office to the sponsor, i.e. the European Commission.

7. Project duration and funding

The project will be conducted over two years (02/1998 to 01/2000). The EIHP will have cost-shared funding under the European Commission’s 4th Framework Programme within the JOULE programme. At least 50% of the total project budget ammounting to approx. 2.5 MECU is brought up by the EIHP partners. The co-sponsor European Commission contributes a maximum of 50% of the project budget in compliance with contract number JOE3-CT97-0088.



All partners would like to express their thanks to the European Commission for making this project possible. The project partners wish to express their gratitude to Wasserstoff-Gesellschaft Hamburg for initiating and promoting the EIHP.


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Figure 1: Renault Laguna station wagon with PEMFC drive and LH
2 storage (Renault)


Figure 2: 7-series sedan with internal combustion engine drive and LH2 storage (BMW)


Figure 3: CGH2 refueling station in Hamburg (HEW, Mannesmann)

Figure 4: Cylindrical 350 l LH2 storage for midi-bus converted by Hydrogen Systems (Messer-Griesheim)

Figure 5: Truck trailer for the delivery of LH2 (Air Liquide)

Figure 6: Vehicle emission testing at INTA homologation center (INTA)

Figure 7: First European Hydrogen City Bus, realized by Hydrogen Systems, N.V., Belgium in collaboration with De Lijn, Flanders and Messer, Germany