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The subject of RCS is complex, internationally oriented and continuously evolving. In order to get an overview of the topic, it is necessary to consider the following points.
RCS is short for regulations, codes and standards. The topic includes, among other things: Regulations, guidelines, laws, codes, technical rules, technical standards and norms. Here, clear specifications and instructions are defined that deal with the subject of the respective technology or specify it.. The goals of international codes, standards and related activities are, for example, to facilitate the exchange of goods and services and to promote cooperation in scientific and economic activities. They should not act as non-tariff barriers.
Regulations are guidelines, codes and technical rules. Technical rules are discussed in more detail in the following section.
Standardization explicitly describes itself as a vehicle of “mutual understanding.” Standards should be based on the verified results of economics, technology and experience, and aim to promote optimal benefits for society. (Source: GPM|PM3; 2010)
A large number of projects are being carried out worldwide in the field of hydrogen and fuel cell technology, and various committees and working groups are being set up to develop and revise standards and regulations. With a lack of transparency regarding the different activities, there is a risk of co-existence of different, technical requirements regarding partially identical technologies.
Basically, a distinction is made between “legally binding” and “legally non-binding”. Regulations are legally binding and must be followed in the respective nation states.
There are several levels of jurisdiction (UN – EU – DE). Increasingly, European and international regulations as well as guidelines for hydrogen and fuel cells are being issued and are replacing previous national regulations.
In case of a dispute in court, the technical rule is applied.
Published international or European standards are basically not legally binding. However, if there is a direct reference from the regulations to a specific standard, that standard may become legally binding, as it is the case, for example, with the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID).
Worldwide, many different sets of regulations are being created and committees established in connection with hydrogen and fuel cell technology. This results in a large number of different technical requirements – sometimes for identical technologies. It is therefore particularly important for successful, safe and efficient use to harmonize the regulations, codes and standards at national and international level.
With regard to the development of hydrogen and fuel cell standards, the following international committees are of particular importance:
ISO/IEC technical committees
CEN/CENELEC technical committees
The working committees of the German Commission for Electrical Engineering (DKE) are assigned to the technical committees of the IEC/CENELEC as German “mirror committees”. This means that only one German committee is responsible for all German, European and international work/collaboration in a specific subject area:
More information: DKE Normungsgremien
Nationally, the DIN Working Committee (DIN-AA) on hydrogen technology is one of the most important working committees. As a mirror committee, it feeds into ISO, CEN and CENELEC and is integrated into the DIN Standards Committee Gas Technology (NAGas). This specifies requirements in the area of gas supply and gas use.
More information: NAGas (din.de)
The German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water (DVGW) and the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (DWV) are working on the technical regulations.
More information: DVGW website: Hydrogen and energy transition
The German standardization organization is the Deutsches Institut für Normung e.V. (DIN) – a non-profit association based in Berlin. As a service provider, DIN is focused on helping so-called interested parties who want a standard to organize it. The technical work in standardization or working committees is done by volunteers of these interested parties.
DIN provides the office (as a permanent address) and a managing director. Since the later sale of the standard does not cover DIN’s expenses as a service provider, the interested parties pay support contributions to DIN as well as the work and travel expenses of their commissioned employees. Usually, several working committees (AA) are combined to form a standards committee (NA).
The standards committee is supported by an advisory board with the function of a steering committee, in which the representatives of the associated working committees automatically have a seat.
Anyone can submit a standardization request to DIN in general or directly to the DIN office of a standard or working committee known to them. This application can already contain a standard proposal. The responsible standards committee decides whether to accept or reject the standardization request.
From the standardization request, the committee – often in a sequence of several standard templates – develops a manuscript for a standard draft. It is then reviewed by DIN’s internal standards inspection body for compliance with the DIN rules in terms of content and editing.
During the following objection period, all interested parties have the opportunity to submit a statement. The comments are forwarded to the responsible standards/working committee and discussed there within three months of the end of the objection period.
The manuscript for the final version of the standard is created taking into account the results of the consultations, then goes through the approval procedure with the standards inspection office and finally is published as a standard by Beuth Verlag.
Further technical rules can be found in the database.
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