An International Vision for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

The International Partnerships of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE), established in 2003, is an international inter-governmental partnership currently consisting of 18-member countries and the European Commission. Its objective is to facilitate and accelerate the transition to clean and efficient energy and mobility systems using hydrogen and fuel cell technologies across applications and sectors.

This partnership provides a forum for sharing information on initiatives, policies and technology status, as well as on safety, regulations, codes, and standards to accelerate the cost-effective transition to the use of hydrogen and fuel cells in the economy.

The IPHE also informs broad stakeholder groups, including policy makers and the public, on the benefits of, and challenges to, establishing widespread commercial hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in the economy.

Purpose and Mission

IPHE serves as a mechanism to organize and implement effective, efficient, and focused international research, development, demonstration and deployment activities related to hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The organization also provides a forum for sharing information, lessons learned and best practices among member countries on initiatives, programs, and policies, as well as safety, codes and standards, to accelerate the widespread deployment of hydrogen and fuel cells in the economy and enable energy, economic and environmental security worldwide.

Strategic Priorities

  1.  Accelerate market penetration and early adoption of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and their supporting infrastructure.
  2.  Share information, lessons learned and best practices among member countries on initiatives, programs, policies, and regulatory actions – including safety, codes and standards, to enable affordable and sustainable widespread deployment across sectors.
  3.  Provide accurate factual and unbiased information to policy-makers, including government officials at the federal, regional and state level, as well as to the public, students, industry and non-governmental associations.
  4. Monitor hydrogen, fuel cell and complementary technology developments worldwide to help inform future government research, development, demonstration, and analysis activities.

Key Activities

IPHE has established an effective operational structure to facilitate international collaboration and coordination among its members, relevant stakeholders and decision-makers. Members share information on policy and technical developments that have helped inform subsequent initiatives implemented in member countries. Beyond sharing of national approaches, the IPHE has held a number of workshops, bringing together more than 600 experts from over 25 countries, to identify opportunities for hydrogen and fuel cells as well as challenges and how to address them. Examples of topics include:

1. Smart Cities
2. Energy Storage
3. Fuel Cell as Backup Power for Telecommunications
4. Energy and Transportation Systems – A 2020 Perspective
5. Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Pathways to Clean Cities – A Stakeholder / Government Dialogue

The IPHE currently has two active Working Groups (WG):

(1) The Education and Outreach (E&O) WG

The aims of the E&O WG are to share information on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, including the status, challenges, opportunities, and initiatives (particularly on policies and programs) across countries. The E&O WG engages in events and activities targeting a broad range of stakeholders including policy makers and government officials at the federal, state, regional and local levels, as well as stakeholders from academia, industry, non-governmental organizations, associations and other decision makers. The WG also typically convenes student education and outreach events in each country which hosts biannual IPHE Steering Committee meetings. Examples of activities include developing fact sheets, communiques, webinars, compilation of funding, programs and policies in each member country related to hydrogen and fuel cells, as well as a snapshot of hydrogen infrastructure by country and number of demonstrations and deployments for different applications.

(2) The Regulations, Codes & Standards (RCS) WG

The aims of the RCS WG are to share information, lessons learned and best practices with a focus on hydrogen safety, as well as the harmonization of codes and standards developed by relevant industry code and standards development organizations. By coordinating at the government level, R&D programs can be developed to address challenges, including regulatory barriers that may be identified through RCS WG activities. Examples of past activities include round robin testing and protocol dissemination for high pressure hydrogen storage tanks and development of templates to share infrastructure reliability and safety data across countries. The WG also fosters dissemination of critical information to relevant stakeholders, particularly related to the safe production, distribution, storage and utilization of hydrogen. Incident databases and training resources for code officials and first responders are shared among the countries to avoid duplication and leverage knowledge and resources. For instance, and HIAD 2.0 are cited as examples that may be shared by the broader global community.