Impurities in hydrogen for fuel cells


New zero-emission vehicles equipped with a polymer electrolyte fuel cell are powered by hydrogen. These fuel cells require a hydrogen quality that can only be achieved by means of modern hydrogen purification technologies, such as pressure swing adsorption or by means of selective diffusion across a palladium-coated membrane. The use of hydrogen with impurities can result in damaged fuel cells after a relatively short time.

To counteract this, guidelines for acceptable hydrogen units have been established in the international standard ISO 14687:2019. This defines the maximum allowable levels of impurities for compounds such as H2O, O2, He, N2, Ar, CO, CO2, TS, THC, HCHO, HCOOH, NH3, HBr , HCl and Cl2. EU Directive 2014/94/EU also specifies that all hydrogen filling stations must take these thresholds into account.


The V&F CombiSense is the analyzer that can measure all impurities defined in the ISO 14687:2019 standard.

This allows hydrogen manufacturers to deliver hydrogen with a certificate of analysis proving that the fuel is of satisfactory quality for vehicles.

Photo Industry Solution V&F Hydrogen Purity


V&F on-line mass spectrometers provide very fast results compared to technologies such as instruments using gas chromatography technology. A CombiSense measures a complete set of impurities using a single setup within minutes.

The user needs only one instrument for the entire analysis, compared to several different instruments (such as GS-MS, FTIR, FID, IC, etc.) recommended in the ISO standard.


  • Complies with the ISO 14687:2019 specification
  • A single analyzer for testing the purity of hydrogen for fuel cells
  • Fully automated analysis with generation of certificates of analysis and compliance

Reference clients (excerpt)

Reference Tokyo Gas

Suitable devices