CLEVELAND and NORTHBROOK, Ill. - CSA America and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) have announced plans to jointly develop and publish a new standard that will set requirements for the process of extracting hydrogen from fuels, such as natural gas, to power fuel cells. The new standard will be one of the primary hydrogen generation standards for North America and is expected to be completed by December 2004.

As part of the collaborative effort, CSA America and UL will share requirements they have previously developed for hydrogen generators that use fuel processing. UL will also continue to chair the Standard Technical Panel responsible for the new standard. This consensus body will include representatives from both CSA America and UL and a cross section of hydrogen generator and fuel cell industry leaders, government agencies, regulatory authorities, manufacturers, users, and other interested parties.

"We are pleased that CSA is an equal partner in the development of what will be the first ANSI standard for hydrogen generation," said Robert Williams, UL's director of global standards. "Their expertise in related segments combined with our standards development leadership will be invaluable in contributing to a harmonized North American standard in the fuel cell industry."

Since fuel cells were first introduced to power early NASA space flights, they have steadily gained popularity as an alternative energy source. And because hydrogen produces roughly three times the amount of energy produced from gasoline and almost seven times that of coal, experts believe hydrogen will play an increasingly important role in U.S. energy plans over the next decade. According to the Department of Energy, 9 million tons of hydrogen are currently produced in the United States each year. This would be enough to supply electricity for 5 million to 8 million homes. Currently, hydrogen is used primarily for chemical production, petroleum refining, and metal treating.

"For more than a decade CSA America has been the leader in developing fuel cell standards," said Spencer Grieco, vice president, standards, CSA America. "We welcome the opportunity to work closely with our colleagues at Underwriters Laboratories to develop a new standard that will stimulate growth within the fuel cell industry and help provide North Americans with an alternative energy source."

Publication date: 01/05/2004