Quality requirements

This LAP is concerned with the applicable Requirements for acceptable concentration of impurities in Hydrogen used for fuel across the partner countries


Quality Requirements describe requirements for acceptable concentration of impurities.

Pan-European Assessment:

Overall, purity requirements are defined by the ISO 14687–2 and SAE J2719_201511 international standards. Directive 2014/94/EU will be transposed and implemented in all Member States. As this Directive states, in Annex II, that the ISO 14687 standard shall be followed, the LAP is not assessed to be associated with any significant legal barrier

Nevertheless, due to the very high purity requirements for hydrogen, standard ISO 14687–2:2012 is costly to implement, measure and enforce. The companies engaged in proposing new H2 production technologies and / or HRS technologies have to invest in high performance “quality assurance” for the H2 produced and / or delivered. This can be viewed as an economic barrier; however, it is in the interest of all those involved in building the market for hydrogen and FCEVs to develop standards accepted by everyone and develop and improve technologies.

Importantly, purity requirements should be verifiable, which is not the case in many EU–MS. The reason for this is that there are just a few independent laboratories (in the world) who can verify the purity required by ISO 14687–2:2012. In other words, the purity of hydrogen for FCEV cannot be guaranteed because the required measurements to show compliance with the standard are expensive/not available. This can be viewed as an operational barrier; however, its severity is negligible at the moment.
Is it a barrier?
Assessment Severity
ISO 14687–2 determines high purity requirements. Difficulties with ISO 14687-2 could arise in case of verification of the purity needs (for example damage to an hydrogen fuelled aggregate). In case of a damage to an aggregate one could argue that the quality of hydrogen was not in line with the specification, therefore the damages occurred. In case of such arguments the hydrogen supplier or seller might not be able to provide proof of the quality of sold hydrogen. Having said this, purity requirements should be verifiable - which is not the case in Austria. The reason for this that currently there are just a few independent laboratories all over the world who can verify the required purity.


Question 1 What are the current purity requirements for hydrogen as a fuel for mobility?
The current purity requirements are based on ISO 14687–2
Describe the comparable technology and its relevance with regard to hydrogen
Each fuel, regardless if it is gasoline, diesel, LNG, CNG or hydrogen, has to fulfil the requirements regarding purity in the used fuel in order to have a low (or non) impact on the health of human beings, the environment or the aggregates fuelled by the relevant fuel.

National legislation:

EU Legislation:

  • Directive 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure (AFID)
    The AFID establishes a common framework of measures for the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure in the Union in order to minimize dependence on oil and to mitigate the environmental impact of transport.

    The Directive sets out minimum requirements for the building-up of alternative fuels infrastructure, including recharging points for electric vehicles and refuelling points for natural gas (LNG and CNG) and hydrogen, to be implemented by means of Member States' national policy frameworks, as well as common technical specifications for such recharging and refuelling points, and user information requirements.

    Article 2 defines ‘Alternative fuels’ as fuels or power sources which serve, at least partly, as a substitute for fossil oil sources in the energy supply to transport and which have the potential to contribute to its decarbonisation and enhance the environmental performance of the transport sector. They include, inter alia: hydrogen.

    It lays down, in Article 5, that Member States which decide to include hydrogen refuelling points accessible to the public in their national policy frameworks shall ensure that, by 31 December 2025, an appropriate number of such points are available, to ensure the circulation of hydrogen-powered motor vehicles, including fuel cell vehicles, within networks determined by those Member States, including, where appropriate, cross-border links.

    Annex II contains technical specifications for hydrogen refuelling points for motor vehicles and additionally lays down that:
    • Outdoor hydrogen refuelling points dispensing gaseous hydrogen used as fuel on board motor vehicles shall comply with the technical specifications of the ISO/TS 20100 Gaseous Hydrogen Fuelling specification.
    • The hydrogen purity dispensed by hydrogen refuelling points shall comply with the technical specifications included in the ISO 14687-2 standard.
    • Hydrogen refuelling points shall employ fuelling algorithms and equipment complying with the ISO/TS 20100 Gaseous Hydrogen Fuelling specification.
    • Connectors for motor vehicles for the refuelling of gaseous hydrogen shall comply with the ISO 17268 gaseous hydrogen motor vehicle refuelling connection devices standard.
  • Council Directive (EU) 2015/652 of 20 April 2015 laying down calculation methods and reporting requirements pursuant to Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels
    This Directive establishes the Method for the calculation and reporting of the life cycle greenhouse gas intensity of fuels and energy by suppliers

    It establishes the efficiency factor of the hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrain to be 0,4. It also lays down the average life cycle greenhouse gas intensity default values for fuels other than biofuels and electricity. It lays down the GHG intensity of compressed synthetic methane in a spark ignition engine resulting from the Sabatier reaction of hydrogen from non-biological renewable energy electrolysis at 3,3 gCO2eq/MJ (the lowest GHG intensity of the fuels considered) and the Compressed Hydrogen in a fuel cell resulting from the electrolysis fully powered by non-biological renewable energy at 9,1g CO2eq/MJ (second lowest intensity).
  • ISO 14687–2:2012 Hydrogen fuel – Product specification – Part 2: Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell applications for road vehicles.
    To secure the hydrogen quality so it does not influence the life time and output from the fuel cells.
  • SAE J2719_201511 Hydrogen Fuel Quality for Fuel Cell Vehicles
  • EN 17124:2018 - Hydrogen fuel - Product specification and quality assurance - Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell applications for road vehicles
    EN 17124 specifies the quality characteristics of hydrogen fuel and the corresponding quality assurance in order to ensure uniformity of the hydrogen product as dispensed for utilization in proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell road vehicle systems.