National Physical Laboratory

Hydrogen Purity Analysis


UK hydrogen economy in 2030
Data taken from UK H2Mobility report 2013 (the report can be
found here)

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.

Various studies have been performed that have specifically investigated the effects of hydrogen impurities on fuel cell lifetime and, more recently, the international standard ISO 14687-2 has been published, which provides a list of the maximum levels of impurities that can be present in hydrogen used to power proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell vehicles.

NPL's hydrogen purity laboratory

NPL hosts a comprehensive suite of gas analysers for performing purity analysis of fuel cell hydrogen, as specified in ISO 14687-2 (click here for more information). As the UK's national measurement institute, our aim is to provide traceable measurements against the most accurate gas standards available. Some of the measurements can be highly challenging (due to the very low amount fractions that need to be detected, reactive substances, etc.), but we have the expertise to tackle these issues. Full details of the work we have carried out with regards to developing offline analytical methods are available in NPL report AS 64 Adobe Acrobat PDF file

NPL's hydrogen impurity enrichment device

NPL has developed a device for concentrating the impurities in a sample of hydrogen before performing purity analysis. This can allow lower amount fractions to be measured using routine techniques, which can simplify and speed up purity analysis. The device operates by tracking a known amount of tracer gas during the enrichment process and this can allow high enrichment factors that are quantified with high accuracy.

NPL's hydrogen impurity enrichment device

Please click here to be directed to NPL's paper on the hydrogen impurity enrichment device.

Collaborative research

In addition to providing quality assurance of fuel cell hydrogen, we are keen to use our expertise and capabilities to support projects that aim to progress hydrogen technologies, and we are currently participating in the following collaborative research projects (this PowerPoint presentation provides more details about the work we are carrying out in these projects):

UK hydrogen economy in 2030

Please contact us if you would like to discuss opportunities for collaboration in future projects.

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 8715

Last Updated: 12 Dec 2014
Created: 28 Nov 2013


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