The German fuel cell heater industry is taking a leading role in Europe with the help of significant funding support through the NOW. Indeed, compared to the USA or Canada it has a head start. Japan however, is regarded globally as clearly topping the list. In the international standardisation of fuel cell heaters at the IEC TC 105 (International Electrotechnical Commission Technical Committee on Fuel Cell Technologies), an IEC 62282-3-x standard came into being, which clearly differs from the European standard EN 50465 in terms of safety, performance and the application concerned. This situation poses a further threat to German and European fuel cell heater manufacturers, because access to internationally available parts is becoming more difficult and the marketing of the units outside of Europe is almost impossible.
To reduce or remove this competitive disadvantage, an analysis of the actual status of technical standards was commissioned through the NOW in 2010, and a strategy was prepared which shows how this disadvantage can be reduced. Through strategic and successful content placement of proposals for revision, an important first step was able to be made towards European safety philosophy in IEC TC 105. Leading the way here is Mr. Eckhard Schwendemann of ES-TMC, who in a conscientious way, and in coordination with the German committee representatives, Dr. Imgrund (DKE K 384), Mr. Endisch (Chairman of the European Committee CEN/CLC JWG FCGHA) and Mr. Schraube (EIFER), succeeded in leveraging the technically precise German amendments within an inter-cultural dialogue, against initially very openly manifested opposition. Steps towards further technical and strategic understanding with USA/Canada and also Japan have been taken. A priority for the coming years aside from the development of »IEC 62282-3-400 (EN50465)«, is to see a harmonisation of »IEC 62282-3-100« under the European gas appliance directive and the completion of the three parts »IEC 62282-3-x«. The project is therefore set to continue with many promising prospects.