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ISO powers up storage of hydrogen fuel cells for safer transport           

An ISO technical specification defining safety requirements for the transport of long-lasting fuel cells heralds a new era for hand-held consumer devices such as laptops and mobile phones.

Hydrogen can be stored and transported in solid form and later released and used under specific thermodynamic conditions. Until now, hydrogen storage systems could only be transported following approval by the competent authority in each country ĘC a process that does not ensure consistency across international borders. A new system for transporting hydrogen will facilitate the commercial progress of the industry as well as help build consumer confidence in the use of hydrogen as a clean and safe energy source.

Published by ISO (International Organization for Standardization), ISO/TS 16111:2006, Transportable gas storage devices ĘC Hydrogen absorbed in reversible metal hydride, will help pave the way for larger, widespread applications of hydrogen by facilitating the safe design and use of transportable hydrogen gas storage canisters. It describes the service conditions, design criteria, type tests and routine tests for these canisters.

"We are helping make hydrogen a reality," said Randy Dey, Chair of the technical committee that developed the new technical specification. "Next generation hand-held consumer devices will utilize hydrogen to refuel the incorporated micro fuel cell. Several advantages that these new products will provide include the availability of more power, long user time between refuelling and faster refuelling."

For example, a typical laptop user only sees 2 to 3 hours of runtime before needing a battery recharge. Hydrogen-powered fuel cell devices will have the ability to power and charge laptop computers, satellite phones, radios, and routers, and have the capability to handle increases in power requirements. A single cell device will be able to power a typical laptop for an entire workday.

ISO/TS 16111 is critical to the success of several international regulatory programmes related to the transport of metal hydride storage systems, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Dangerous Goods Panel and the UN Subcommittee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. It is envisaged that ISO/TS 16111 will be referenced in both these regulatory programmes.