National Physical Laboratory

Hydrogen Purity Analysis

Hydrogen car
Image courtesy of iStockphoto


Hydrogen is set to become a crucial part of the UK's future energy matrix as the Government strives to meet challenging targets for reducing greenhouse emissions. One application of hydrogen is to power fuel cell vehicles - these vehicles are emission-free at the point of use, and fossil fuel usage is eliminated if the hydrogen is generated from renewable energy sources.

Accurate analysis of the purity of the hydrogen used in fuel cells vehicles is required because even trace levels of some species may cause a severe loss of fuel cell performance.

Traceable measurement of the hydrogen storage capability of materials being developed by research groups around the world is essential to provide comparability of the claimed storage capabilities.

Hydrogen purity analysis

Click here for more information on NPL's hydrogen purity analysis capabilities, including a list of the measurements we can provide.

A summary of the analytical methods developed at NPL as of August 2011 is available here. Full details of the work are available in NPL report AS 64 Adobe Acrobat PDF file

Hydrogen purity - collaborative research

NPL is participating in the following collaborative research projects:

  • EcoIsland (creating an integrated hydrogen energy storage and vehicle refuelling system on the Isle of Wight): A TSB project with 10 UK partners.
  • H2FC (Integrating European infrastructure to support science and development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies): An EU Framework 7 project with 19 European partners. If you would like to know more about H2FC's free transnational access scheme, click here

Hydrogen storage

NPL is also carrying out research into:

  • The synthesis and characterisation of novel nano-structured materials for the high-volume storage of hydrogen, e.g. work on carbon nanoscrolls has been published in Chemical Physics Letters, 465, 2008, 254-257.
  • Measurements of the hydrogen storage capacity of novel storage materials.
  • Investigation of the effects of the introduction of impurities in hydrogen on fuel cell output and performance.

Contact us

For further information on this research, or to request the purity analysis of a sample of hydrogen, please contact us:

Customer enquiry tel: +44 20 8943 6372

Last Updated: 5 Dec 2013
Created: 28 Nov 2013


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