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Safety Challenges

The safety challenges result not only from the implementation of hydrogen technology for use directly by the public in a non-industrial context and for a completely new application. It lies also in the demanding performance and cost targets imposed by the applications leading to:

  • the excursion to new domains of service conditions (e.g. 700 bar, 85°C.)
  • the introduction of new physical processes (e.g. Hydride storage, fast filling.)
  • the use of new materials (e.g. composite materials.)

The safety challenge is hence two-fold:

1. Address the known risks (e.g. H2 leak) in a way that is compatible with the operation of a public fuelling station: the conventional methods used by industry (large clearance distances, personnel protective equipment…) are not easily applicable here; 2. Discover and address all the new risk factors brought in by the new elements above and their combination.

The fact that multiple actors are involved (cylinder and accessory manufacturers, vehicle manufacturers, refuelling station designers and operators, industrial gas companies...) further underlines this challenge.

More specifically the challenges include:

  • the reliability/safety of the 350 - 700 bar vehicle connection
  • ensuring the user’s safety despite his presence in an area normally classified as hazardous according to industry standards
  • perform the filling function well and safely, i.e. fill quickly to 100% exactly inside the safe operating limits, through correct management of the heat generated by the fast filling process
  • secure/safeguard the user( ensure safety despite limited knowledge and training and his/her potential “impatience”)

Prior to generalization/public use of such stations, further work is needed to

  • fully validate critical dispenser components, such as the fuelling nozzles, the hose and the break-away coupling
  • enhance prevention of leaks and potential ignition

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Page last modified on December 19, 2008, at 11:08 AM