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Activities Task 19

Hydrogen Safety

Operating Agents:  William Hoagland

Term: A  2004 - 2010

Purpose and Objectives:   
The Goal of the Hydrogen Safety Task is to develop and conduct effective risk management techniques, testing methodologies, test data, and targeted information products that will facilitate the accelerated adoption of hydrogen systems.
The specific objectives of this task are:
  • to develop testing methodologies around which collaborative testing programs can be conducted.
  • to collect information on the effects of component or system failures of hydrogen systems.
Background:  In recent years, a significant international effort has been initiated to development codes and standards required for the introduction of these new systems. Such codes and standards are usually developed through operating experience in actual use that is accumulated over time. Without such long term experience, there is a tendency for early codes and standards to be more restrictive to ensure that an acceptable level of safety is maintained. One possible effect is to hinder the introduction of hydrogen systems and thus the operating experience upon which future infrastructure is developed. Likewise, this lack of operating data impacts other areas such as insurance cost and availability and public acceptance.
Description:  This task is aimed at reducing the safety related barriers to widespread adoption of hydrogen energy systems. It is being accomplished within three subtasks:
Subtask A: Risk Management
The conduct of quantitative risk analyses (QRA) and development of testing methodologies around which collaborative testing programs can be conducted.
Subtask B: Experimental Testing:
To close knowledge gaps on consequences of equipment or system failures and effects of mitigation measures through a collaborative testing program.
Subtask C: Information Dissemination
A program to develop targeted information packages for stakeholder groups.
Subtask A - Risk Management Subtask A Risk Management will concentrate on the following three activities:
Activity A1: Develop uniform risk acceptance criteria and establish link with risk-informed codes & standards.
Activity A2: Develop a list of appropriate engineering models and modeling tools. Develop simple but realistic physical effects models for all typical accident phenomena (i.e., jet fires, vapor cloud explosions, flash fires, BLEVEs, pool fires, etc.) for education and training, design evaluation and simplified quantitative risk analysis purposes.
Activity A3: Develop methodology for consistent site risk assessment based on HyQRA approach.
A relationship between the first three Activities and their contribution to quantitative risk assessment and risk-informed RCS process is illustrated by the diagram below.

Subtask B - Testing and Experimental Program
For almost all risk analysis methodologies reference data is used for validating modeling and calculations of risk probabilities and/or consequences. With hydrogen being relatively new in large-scale use the question is if enough and proper validation data exists worldwide to perform calculations with the methodologies highlighted in Subtask A. The methodologies could point out the lack of data on hydrogen safety issues which makes it difficult to draw conclusions related to regulations (e.g. considering safety distances). Besides that, new applications and equipment have been suggested for hydrogen operating under more extreme conditions than applications and equipment used for conventional fuels. The safety features for these new applications and equipment should be tested and analyzed. This will also lead to new accidental scenarios addressed by Subtask A.
Subtask B will focus on both testing and experimental data, i.e., testing data as collected by checking the performance of applications and equipment and experimental data as collected by experiments with hydrogen release, ignition, fire, explosions and preventive and protective measures.
Subtask B Risk Management will concentrate its next 3-year period on the following three activities:
  • B1: Survey on existing testing and experimental data
  • B2: Survey on ongoing or planned projects
  • B3: Analyzing existing data in relation to risk management
Subtask C - Development of Targeted Information Packages for Stakeholder Groups
The development of a homogenous worldwide infrastructure will be necessary before hydrogen energy can achieve widespread utilization and public acceptance. Safety concerns caused by the lack of real operating experience (and the cost of their mitigation) are major inhibitors to the accelerated development of such infrastructure. As information is collected during the testing program, a beneficial impact can only be achieved if it is conveyed to those stakeholders who will participate in the development of the new infrastructure.
The goal of this subtask will be to use the results obtained in the testing and evaluation program to develop targeted information packages for stakeholder groups (permitting officials, insurance providers, system developers, and early adopters of these new products and systems). This activity is more advanced in some countries compared to others that could benefit from the experiences gained in the infrastructure development process.
Significant Outcomes
As technology advances are realized and more hydrogen components and systems move closer to commercial application, a number of infrastructure issues will move to the forefront. This task will assist the development efforts for new Codes and Standards that will need to be accomplished before the widespread use of hydrogen energy systems is achieved.  Likewise, information and data about the risks and hazards introduced by hydrogen energy will help form public perceptions about the safety of such systems. In addition, this data will be useful to insurance providers to establish a basis for insurance rates for the producers and distributors of hydrogen, the manufacturers of early systems, and the purchasers of products that use hydrogen.
There will be a number of key products that would be of significant value in accelerating widespread use of hydrogen. A program of collaboration would facilitate the dissemination of operating information upon which others could base the development of infrastructure in their individual countries.

Final Reports:

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