Major changes to automotive certification standards announced

Inspecting high-pressure hydrogen storage solutions

The European Environment Agency’s Regulation (EC) No. 79/2009, a standard which covers type-approval of hydrogen-powered motor vehicles and has been historically enforced by the European Parliament, is being phased out in an effort to keep the industry up-to-date and improve the reliability of hydrogen vehicles.

Many manufacturers, including NPROXX, now face significant challenges to re-certify their applications for automotive hydrogen storage. The decision means that all existing H2 vehicle technology can only have their existing certifications extended, with any further certifications to be obtained using the new, stricter methods. The former certification will be replaced by the existing R134, a regulation of the UN’s Economic Commission for Europe. Alongside the phase out of the (EC) 79, the R134 is also set to undergo an update to ensure manufacturers are testing applications thoroughly and prioritising safety above all else.

As the (EC) 79 can no longer be used for certification in Europe, NPROXX are moving forward with making the necessary modifications to the relevant pressure vessels ahead of re-applying for certification. “For this new certification, testing will be a lot more comprehensive,” explains Claus Klein, Manager of Engineering Quality and Certification at NPROXX. “This means that the new R134 certification will be more difficult to obtain, but the procedure will ensure our pressure vessels are totally safe for use under all circumstances. While this creates further work for us, it is for good reason and will be a worthwhile process.”

Introducing stronger safety standards means that assessing applications for the R134 will become more rigorous, with technology tested under more strenuous conditions. Previously, NPROXX performed the required tests across a number of pressure vessels. However, to meet the revamped standard, manufacturers will have to perform all the most demanding tests on a single application. In addition to this requirement, further regulatory documents will also now be required to gain certification.

While this does present a major challenge, the re-certification of all (EC) 79 hydrogen automotive applications will be manageable due to NPROXX’s extensive prior certification experience. “We have previously certified certain vessels under the R134 standard,” comments Klein. “Though this was under the previous iteration of the standard, the updated application will follow the same certification route, so we will be well-prepared for testing.”

To follow NPROXX’s certification journey, or find out more about our innovative hydrogen storage technology, read about our range of automotive applications or contact us directly.