Ensuring Adequate Safety When Using Hydrogen as a Fuel

CIM Montreal 2007
Allan Coutts,
Abstract D. A. Coutts
Washington Group International
Aiken, SC, 29803, USA


Demonstration projects using hydrogen as a fuel are becoming very common. Often these projects rely on project-specific risk evaluations to support project safety decisions. This is necessary because regulations, codes, and standards (hereafter referred to as standards) are just being developed. This paper will review some of the approaches being used in these evolving standards, and techniques which demonstration projects can implement to bridge the gap between current requirements and stakeholder desires.
Many of the evolving standards for hydrogen-fuel use performance-based language, which establishes minimum performance and safety objectives, as compared with prescriptive-based language that proscribes specific design solutions. This is being done for several reasons including: (1) concern that establishing specific design solutions too early will stifle invention, (2) sparse performance data necessary to support selection of design approaches, and (3) a risk-adverse public which is unwilling to accept losses that were incurred in developing previous prescriptive design standards.
The evolving standards often contain words such as: “The manufacturer shall implement the measures and provide the information necessary to minimize the risk of endangering a person’s safety or health.” This typically implies that the manufacturer must produce and document an acceptable level of risk. If accomplished using comprehensive and systematic process the demonstration project risk assessment can ease the transition to widespread commercialization. Several of the risk-analysis methods proposed in the US Department of Energy’s “Guidance for Safety Aspects of Proposed Hydrogen Projects” with specific examples of how this guide may be applied in the context of evolving standards will be reviewed.
Keywords: hydrogen, Standards, Risk
Full Access to Technical Paper
PDF version for $20.00
Other papers from CIM Montreal 2007