- Industry Links
- HCB Shop
PHMSA acts on fuel cells
Originally published:  08/05/2008
The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a final rule under docket HM-243 this past April 30, making changes to the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to allow certain fuel cell cartridges and fuel cell systems to be transported by passengers and crew in carry-on baggage on passenger aircraft.
The final rule responds to comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking published on September 20, 2007, which sought to bring HMR into line with the provisions for international carriage by air in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Technical Instructions, 2007-2008 edition. The rulemaking applies to fuel cells containing flammable liquids of Class 3, formic acid and borohydrides meeting the definition of Class 8 material, and butane of Division 2.1. Fuel cells will have to conform to certain rigorous performance criteria, including the specification and addendum developed by the International Eletrotechnical Commission (IEC), and be marked "APPROVED FOR CARRIAGE IN AIRCRAFT CABIN ONLY" by the manufacturer.
The size of fuel cell will be limited, in accordance with the ICAO provisions, and passengers and crew will be prohibited from refilling fuel cells cartridges and systems, other than to install a fresh cartridge, while onboard the aircraft.
PHMSA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) say they will continue to monitor technical developments in this emerging sector and to work closely with ICAO and other standards-setting bodies to identify and address safety issues associated with the transport of fuel cells by all modes.