Hydrogen Economy, Second Edition - Chapter 16: Safety of hydrogen for large-scale energy deployment in a decarbonized economy

Elsevier, Hydrogen Economy (Second Edition), pages 511-535
Chris LaFleur, Ethan Hecht S., Brian Ehrhart, Joseph Ronevich, Chris San Marchi

Safety is a key element of today’s large-scale energy infrastructure and especially important for new energy technologies, such as hydrogen. As with any fuel, the attractive features of hydrogen energy technologies come with safety hazards. The diverse nature of hydrogen applications spanning production, delivery, storage, and end-use combined with the unique characteristics of hydrogen requires management of a varied safety landscape. In this chapter, we focus on large-scale infrastructure and the associated safety hazards of emerging hydrogen technologies. A brief introduction to hydrogen technologies is provided, including hydrogen production, delivery, storage, and end uses such as transportation, power and heating, and manufacturing. Hydrogen-safety research topics are then discussed with emphasis on (i) hydrogen behavior, (ii) hydrogen compatibility of materials, and (iii) quantitative risk assessment. A brief perspective on international codes and standards is also provided. Knowledge of hydrogen behavior provides a scientific foundation for hydrogen safety codes; research and key characteristics of dispersion of flammable concentrations, flame characteristics, and ignition parameters are discussed. Hydrogen compatibility of materials depends on materials, environmental and the mechanics (e.g., stresses) variables. Important trends of these variables are discussed in the context of managing structural integrity of hydrogen infrastructure. An overview of the various safety risk calculation methodologies used for quantitative risk assessment of hydrogen systems are also presented and discussed. The unique attributes of hydrogen behavior and its interaction with materials must be considered in evaluating and managing the risks of emerging hydrogen energy technologies. Scientific understanding provides the foundation for effective management of hydrogen safety, thus enabling deployment of transformational hydrogen energy solutions.