Safety of Hydrogen as an Energy Carrier

The introduction and commercialisation of hydrogen as an energy carrier of the future makes great demands on all aspects of safety. Technologies and applications allowing the use of hydrogen should provide at least the same level of safety, reliability, and comfort as today's fossil energy carriers.
The HySafe network will focus on safety issues relevant to improve and co-ordinate the knowledge and understanding of hydrogen safety and support the safe and efficient introduction and commercialisation of hydrogen as an energy carrier of the future, including the related hydrogen applications. The overall goal of HySafe is to contribute to the safe transition to a more sustainable development in Europe by facilitating the safe introduction of hydrogen technologies and applications.

Hydrogen safety issues are subject to numerous research efforts. However, there are still a number of knowledge gaps with significant deficiencies in terms of safe technical solutions, including mitigation techniques, and in the availability and scope of widely accepted and harmonised standards and methodologies, together with associated regulatory issues. Development of a robust and reliable framework to assess the safety of hydrogen technologies and applications, and to harmonise testing procedures and Quality Assurance standards in the EU is therefore necessary.

The main objective of the HySafe network will therefore be to strengthen, integrate and focus fragmented research efforts to provide a basis that will allow removal of safety-related barriers to implementation of hydrogen as an energy carrier. In this way the network will also contribute to promoting public awareness and trust in hydrogen technology within Europe by providing a basis for communicating the risks associated with hydrogen.

The network intends to promote the development of an integrated, competitive scientific and industrial community in Europe capable of jointly addressing the challenges presented by the development of an excellent safety culture across Europe. There is some existing co-operation in the field, but much of the existing research output is not necessarily easy to obtain. Substantial benefits can be expected from making it easy to identify and use existing information and from preventing duplication of work.

There are certain historical differences in the methodologies and approaches for addressing safety issues. This concerns differences in probabilistic and deterministic approaches in safety studies and differences in the approaches of industry, research organisations, and public authorities. Development of a common understanding and common approaches will benefit all partners involved, as they gain access to improved methodologies based on the input and experience from others. This will also help to facilitate the safe introduction of hydrogen technologies and applications.

The objectives of the network include:

  • To contribute to common understanding and approaches for addressing hydrogen safety issues;
  • To integrate experience and knowledge on hydrogen safety in Europe
  • To integrate and harmonise the fragmented research base;
  • To provide contributions to EU safety requirements, standards and codes of practice;
  • To contribute to an improved technical culture on handling hydrogen as an energy carrier;
  • To promote public acceptance of hydrogen technologies.

These objectives are to be achieved by:

  • Developing, harmonising and validating methodologies for safety assessments;
  • Undertaking safety and risk studies;
  • Establishment of a hydrogen incident and accident database;
  • Creation of a set of specialised research facilities;
  • Identification of a set of specialised complimentary codes and models that can be used for safety studies;
  • Promoting fundamental research necessary to address hydrogen safety issues;
  • Extracting net outcomes from safety and risk assessment studies as input to EU-legal requirements, standards and codes of practice;
  • Organizing training and educational programmes on hydrogen safety, including on-line mode (e-Academy);
  • Disseminating the results through the HySafe website, an Biennial Report on Hydrogen Safety, and an Biennial International Symposium on Hydrogen Safety.
The HySafe network addresses the medium and long-term objectives of the Priority 6.1 "Sustainable energy systems". In particular, the HySafe NoE is directly relevant to the objectives of research area concerning development of a robust and reliable framework for assessment of the safety of hydrogen technologies.