IIHS 2019 X5 crash test. William S. Lerner was at the IIHS to discuss hydrogen vehicles.
No Elon Musk For FCEV
Hyundai Needs Superstar Creation Over NEXO
Interview with William S. Lerner FRSA
In July, I met William S. Lerner, member of the ISO Working Group and technical advisory group on hydrogen fueling stations and fuel cell vehicles. Lerner emphasized the creation of an FCEV model that could accelerate the future of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and create aspiration and enthusiasm like Elon Musk. Here is the Q & A.
written│Sangmin Han _ firstname.lastname@example.org
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Q. First, Let me know briefly what activities and roles you have in ISO and ANSI.
I have eighteen roles at ISO, which is the International Organization or Standardization. ANSI(The American National Standards Institute) is the sole US Accreditation body for the ISO Technical Advisory Group members, and US Registered Experts. I hold eleven Expert titles. Many are for hydrogen refueling stations and related components. Safety and performance standards are always a top priority for me. At ISO, we write global standards, and 121 member bodies participate fully in the process from all over the globe, including Korea, Japan, Russia, the US, Singapore, Thailand, etc. Working Group Members (Experts) write the standards proposals, and Technical Advisory Group Members (TAG), vote on the standards. I hold dual TAG member and a Working Group Member, roles in many areas.
What is a missed opportunity in my opinion, is not enacting what I bring to the working groups and technical advisory groups. Meaning, that at ISO we write the standards for the minimum safety and performance standards. As an inventor, I am always coming up with solutions, and new and novel ways to improve everything we do. I think what may come in five, ten or twenty years down the road, and prepare for it. Many safety advancements, and customer experience advancements I have thought should be in place, but are not. My goal is to consult with companies that wish to leap ahead of the minimum requirements and be the trailblazers in their spaces. I am allowed to patent anything I like, present it as a standards proposal and vote for it. I must however, make it available to all at a reasonable licensing fee. This is a remarkable opportunity, and it would allow me to work with a company to build a fundamental patent portfolio, which could become a global standard. Think about the dawn of the mobile phone, and the fundamental or platform patents that are still in use.
Q. In the early market, battery explosion of EVs and accidents of autonomous driving test vehicles were issues. Likewise, hydrogen and related explosions are happening recently in various regions including Korea. I would appreciate your comments on the technology, the market, and ISO.
A. Thank you for not singling out hydrogen's issues. Every new technology that is deployed has unforeseen issues. At ISO, we try to think of every possible performance and safety issue, that can be easily adopted updated, and address them accordingly. Bearing in mind, that we can not put the burden of excessive costs, or implementations in our standards. Some countries, don't have the resources, and we must balance a fine line, and implement standards, that are realistic for all of our member countries.
I have heard many times, that we have: "self-serving policies for the companies we work for." Nothing could be farther from the truth. We had a recent working group meeting, and we were discussing high velocity impact testing standards(we fire bullets at tanks to test them). The leaders in the industry were attending the meeting, from the largest companies. Every fifteen minutes one member said: "Safety first, no matter what the cost." We are volunteering our time and expertise at ISO, and we are all working for the greater good, and all voices and concerns are addressed. We even allow outside data to be presented, and welcome other's expert viewpoints.
Concerning the public's safety, we in the US are trying to test the cylinders without using the guns. One member even went to a gun shop to ''not buy a gun" and see what other's moved to in any type of testing procedures. The owner said he could sell him a gun that was not a gun. He could legally sell it as an "Industrial Test Fixture" which did not require a license, and just needed to be inventoried at a business that needs to test fences, cylinders, etc.
What was absolutely shocking was that in the US, that loophole exists. We were trying to eliminate our gun usage, and learn that any business can obtain one. Think about all the gun violence in the USA. I am still wrapping my head around it, and will clearly be very vocal about the situation. Gun violence in the US is out of control, and this absurd policy needs to end. I just made a lot of enemies, but perhaps I can save many lives going forward. ISO leads me to very interesting places, and I learn something at every meeting.
Concerning the Norway incident, Jon Andre Lokke, the CEO of NEL ASA addressed the Kjorbo incident in a press release on June 28th 2019, concerning the malfunction on June 10th. The root cause of the leak was determined, as an assembly error, due to bolts not being torqued properly. It was a human error, not a component or process error. We see such errors frequently in all industries and must keep them in perspective.
One root cause analysis I was involved with concerned an explosion, and fire at a factory. The report clearly showed that it was caused by human error. How? The tanks were being improperly lifted by the hoses, not by the tank's body. The hoses are not handles for the tanks, and the operator was not properly trained, or simply failed to understand follow protocols, which created the explosion.
▲ Kjorbo incident
▼ 200 cars can wait for 10 public chargers.
Cars are safer than they ever have been, yet we still have stable death rates of 3,287 persons per day, globally. And, there are roughly 20-50 million injuries per year, globally. All the standards we write, and all the safety equipment we have and incorporate into items, does not stop human error or lack of judgement. People do not wear their seat belts, speed, text while driving, and somehow think they are immune from the laws of physics. How? Not wearing a seat belt in the rear of a car, and magically thinking they will not be thrown forward during a crash. It boggles my mind. Human errors that cause crashes, have nothing to do with the mechanical of the vehicle. Many train derailments are strictly caused by human error.
Unfortunately I can not write standards for human behaviors, or hold our citizens to a baseline of logic or intelligence. We do everything to ensure that any situation will not happen going forward, by addressing every potential problem that lead to the accident and potentially enact new or revised standards based on the issues that caused the malfunction.
In the US we are looking at APCI (Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Ionization) issues. We are very transparent, when it comes to safety and dealing with issues. I applaud Jon Andre Lokke and NEL ASA for their transparency. The detailed report link from NEL ASA's is below:
Q. What is the difference between the fueling of the current car and the charge of the FCEV for you?
A. ISO TC 197 Hydrogen Technologies votes on the Working Group's standards proposals. The working groups, that I am on include:
▶ISO/TC 197/WG 5 - Gaseous hydrogen land vehicle refueling connection devices
▶ISO/TC 197/WG 22 - Gaseous hydrogen fueling station hoses
▶ISO/TC 197/WG 23 - Gaseous hydrogen fueling station fittings
▶ISO/TC 197/WG 24 - Gaseous hydrogen fueling stations-general requirements
▶ISO/TC 197/WG 19- Gaseous hydrogen fueling stations dispensers - general requirements
▶ISO/TC 197/WG 21- Gaseous hydrogen fueling station compressors
The names of the working groups are very clear as to their specific areas. In the USA we are a force to be reckoned with. We have brilliant working group members with decades of experience. We sometimes have very heated discussions, because everyone has a say, and we all dedicate ourselves to being the benchmark for all countries. We unfortunately see other countries, want deficient standards, in our opinion. Sometimes it can be worked out at a conference, and sometimes we have to work on reverse Vienna Agreements, or appeals due to specific terms the countries do not agree on, or in our opinion, a deficient standard for safety or testing, etc.
Sometimes it is based on how the standard is defined. Language is a very powerful tool, and when it is ambiguous, it can lead to non-uniform results. It is a sticking point for us. So much so, that at one meeting one country's working group member used the term "hose assembly" and another country "assembly hose." It caused a twenty minute discussion, and we agreed on one term. Everything must be the same, for a standard to work. It is not an interpretation of what we are doing. It is the strict guideline, or rule, so to speak. We will not cut any corners, or allow other countries to on our watch. We have no problem butting heads with any country, if we feel their vote on a standard is wrong, which does happen frequently.
Concerning the larger projects we are working on now, one is the H70HF fueling protocols for "Heavy Duty" vehicles. Again, this is very important work as FCEV become heavy duty vehicles. I tend to focus on the user experience, because it is may look similar to filling a petrol car(dispensing unit, hose and handle) it does not function in the same way at all.
EV's are basically appliances you plug in to charge, like your mobile phone. It is a very simple, known art. I worry about the cable's casing being dragged repeatedly on the concrete, and I am confident my EV counterparts are making sure there are no issues. When you fill a hydrogen vehicle, you snap the connector in place, behind the filling door. We try to mimic the time it takes to fill a petrol car, to streamline the switch from petrol to hydrogen vehicles. FCEV's as you know, can take hours to ''fill." Tesla, for example has many superchargers, but think about the wait times, and the complexity of charging EV's at public garages and at private homes. It is always something to think about. In a public garage there may be ten chargers for 200 cars.
With FCEVs you simply fill them up like a petrol car, get a similar range per fill as a petrol car. You fill it, drive it until you are nearing empty and fill again. It really is fundamentally the same as the petrol experience in that way. EV's are challenging in my opinion. Who wants to plug in their car every night, and worry about range if deviate from your known routine? What if there is a blackout? Or an emergency trip to assist an elderly parent a few hours away?
We are have decades of experiences of filling petrol vehicles. It is so simple: The handle has a metal nozzle that slides right into the car. You can do it blindfolded. I worry that people won't pay attention, and drop the handle, or not be instructed properly on how to fill the vehicle. I write the standards for the safety and performance of the stations dispensers and their components. The fueling dispenser was not involved in the Kjorbo incident. We design them with human errors in mind, meaning if a driver forgets to remove the handle after filling the vehicle, the pump automatically shuts off the flow of hydrogen. Again, mechanically we are completely confident, but the reality is that human error will unfortunately, always play a role. Kjorbo could have been avoided, as detailed by their report, if the installer simply torqued the bolts as instructed. The incident led to two minor injuries when air bags in nearby cars inflated. We need to keep this in perspective. Human error caused two injuries, and NEL ASA is doing everything they can to insure it will never happen again.
Q. You are doing standard activities in several working groups of ISO for FCEV. What are the key issues and standardization prospects for each working group?
A. My working group's focus allows the hydrogen economy to grow and flourish. The average consumer's only experience with hydrogen at this point comes from buying an FCEV or filling one. We support the hydrogen economy by making sure the filling stations are safe, and offer a pleasant user experience. I want there to be education policies in place. The dealers must be very through when delivering the vehicles in my opinion, and take each new buyer to a filling station and explain the process and differences.
Q. The Korean government has a great ambition for FCEV and the hydrogen economy. Also, Hyundai is claiming hydrogen leadership in Europe and worldwide. What do you think about Hyundai's activities? Are Korean members actively involved in ISO standards activities? What advice would you give for Korea's hydrogen leadership?
A. In my opinion, Korea and Hyundai will be the main forces behind driving the hydrogen economy forward. Hyundai functions at head snapping speed. They are constantly pushing the boundaries, and forming alliances, all over the world. I applaud them. The Korean Government wants to produce 6.2 million FCEV's by 2040, along with 41,000 buses by 2040, not to mention the 420,000 jobs they will push to create in the sector by 2040. When you have a dynamic company like Hyundai, partnered with the dynamic wide-eyed country it is based in, great things will surely happen. I am frankly in awe of Korea and Hyundai. There are many Koreans involved with the standards process at ISO in varying roles, of course.
Frankly, no early adopter is fantasizing about a Honda Clarity, or Toyota Mirai, or Nexo for that matter. ▶
Concerning my advice to Korea's hydrogen leadership and to Hyundai's leadership, I would propose I be the face of FCEVs. Seriously! EV's are where they are today because of Elon Musk. He created the passion and desire for the cars. He had people, giving deposits, and lining up to buy them. He was a brilliant motivator, and front man. FCEVs do not have a face, they are just plopped down, and the companies hope people buy them. Explaining the technology and benefits are great of course, but that does not create passion. Passion happens by having a dynamic interaction and desire. Frankly, no early adopter is fantasizing about a Honda Clarity, or Toyota Mirai, or Nexo for that matter.
We need to create a sports car, and a convertible. Many production cars can be converted to FCEVs without starting out with a new vehicle platform. We need to create passion. Look at the auto shows, and look what the EV brands are showing. They are magnificent, create passion, and frankly are so innovative. Hyundai, I am available as a consultant......
Q. How long will it take for FCEV to go as high as the current BEV market? What challenges do we have to overcome?
A. The practical advantages for FCEVs over BEVs are enormous, and have true economic advantages, because they are filled like petrol vehicles. Think about the EV economy, and what it does to parking garages in homes and airports. EV's can have their charging ports in the front, side, and back of the vehicle. When you try to fill a garage to it's capacity, while charging many of the vehicles, think of the lost space in the garage. If a garage holds 200 FCEVs, it may only hold 150 if many are being charged, due to the chargers and cables which will not allow the vehicles to be parked closely together.
Additionally, think of the increased work for the attendants. They will have to charge the cars, unpluging them, deal with the cables, and move the vehicles around to get to the chargers. There will not be a charger for every car. Wireless charging like what many mobile phones have, is being tested and will be a reality, but no one is telling the average consumer, that roughly ten percent of the energy is lost, when you charge wirelessly. Convenient, yes. Efficient, no.
Concerning alarming global concerns, such as global warming, and toxic pollution, 96% of China's electric power comes from coal. That was presented at a global plenary in December by a highly respected Chinese Professor. Clearly China, is moving, and quite impressively, towards cleaner energy alternatives. So, 96% of EV's power comes directly from coal, and clearly FCEVs are preferable to BEVs.
He is standing with a Bugatti and his 1981 BMW 528i, and that is a clear shot to the auto makers, to make young kids want an FCEV.
Q. What are the practical advantages of FCEV over BEV? how is the market for FCEV shaping up in the US at the moment?
A. The challenges in the US are simple. Infrastructure. EV's are where they are today, because everyone has electricity. You can even charge an EV from the same socket you have your coffee pot plugged into. Well it will take four days to fully charge!
We do not have the network of stations to support the growth we want. California is leading the way. I firmly believe that if we create passion for the vehicles, based on their design, and get garage owners, to realize the negative monetary impact that they will have, with diminished capacity if everyone buys an EV, it will change. If private garage owners, government owned garages, airport garages, etc, in New York, Tokyo, or London, don't want to loose money, they should rally behind hydrogen. The more cars in their garages, the more money they make, and the more efficient the whole parking process becomes. EV's change parking situations for the worse. FCEV's keep things the way they are now, which is how our automotive landscape is designed.
Q. I think Your history and career are very unique. You are an inventor and has a close relationship with the automotive industry. Can you draw the FCEV of the future in terms of design, functionality and mobility?
A. Great question. As an inventor, I am constantly thinking of new ideas. Ironically, concerning hydrogen, we are just really limited by infrastructure, meaning we need more stations. I told you my thoughts on how to accomplish this, through economic advantages for garage owners, and the creation of passion for the vehicles, and the FCEV Elon Musk equivalent (me). Environmentally we clearly need alternatives to coal and fossil fuels, and both EVs and FCEVs are zero emissions at the tailpipe, which is a driving factor for densely packed cities. Globally, we need cleaner energy alternatives, and hydrogen is a very viable alternative, and I am proud to be a part of making this happen.
William S. Lerner FRSA
He is an ISO voting delegate for six gas, hydrogen and hazardous materials storage Technical Advisory Groups(TAGS). He is also an officially registered U.S. Expert on eleven ISO Working Groups(WGs) concerning hydrogen, gasses, and storage areas. He is I am an independent inventor who has developed a "Fundamental" or "Platform Technology." His work concerned using light and audible alerts in new ways for status or safety.
He is a peer reviewed published author in the SPIE Digital Library. The technology was developed with Schott and Eurokera(Corning and St. Gobain). The work has defense applications, and He was an author/presenter at SPIE's Defense, Sensing & Security Conference. He has worked with The ABA, Schriners, The Harvard School of Public Health, etc,. Consulted with GE, Schott, Electrolux, Bosch, and Siemens to explore pioneering applications for burn mitigation.
- Fellow- The Royal Society of Arts
- Advisory Board Member, MetroHyVe
- The Center for Automotive Research(CAR): Subject Matter Expert
- SAE Technical Standards Task Force TEVAVS6
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers. ASME Member
- Stakeholder: The U.S. Department of Transportation, The Intelligent Transportation Joint Systems Program, and The Intelligent Transportation Society of America, and Smart Columbus.