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Starting Point And Framework

The introduction and commercialisation of hydrogen as an energy carrier of the future induces continuously increasing demands on all aspects of safety. The new private usage of hydrogen involves new technologies, new materials and new solutions for which broad and long-term experience is actually lacking. On the other hand as safety impacts the economic attractiveness and public acceptance of any innovation, these new technologies and applications should provide at least the same level of safety, reliability, and comfort as today’s fossil energy carriers. The related products should be safe and usable and receivable as an improvement.

A fair market for trading the related innovative products has to be based on homogenised legal regulations, which usually refer to commonly accepted standards. Ideally, these standards should be based on performance requirements, to allow new concept or solutions to enter the market. Therefore a broad understanding of the interference of hydrogen and the related products is necessary, which can only be achieved on the basis of sound and in the best case coordinated research work. In parallel to these activities the research community should be addressing the still existing gaps of knowledge in well coordinated way. Furthermore behaviour when interfering with these products is to be understood if they interfere with safety based on profound and concerted research work.

As the research related to hydrogen safety was heavily fragmented in Europe, the European Commission (EC) decided to support the required integration and focusing of the related efforts with the help of a new instrument, the so-called Networks of Excellence (NoE). In the sixth framework programme (FP6) the NoE HySafe has been mandated to provide the integration among 24 European partners and one Canadian partner. All the network activities, the integration of knowledge, tools, procedures and staff and knowledge, the coordination of relevant research and providing one interface to the experts should help to identify and remove at an early stage any safety related barrier for the introduction of hydrogen as an energy carrier.

As the EC funding actually is a seed funding of a increasingly self-sustained entity the most attractive and most integrated activities of HySafe should be transferred into a long lasting entity. The formation of such a follow-up, legal entity is additionally motivated by the fact that for many activities the status of a NoE is not sufficient neither for the visibility of the network or for some rather practical aspects, for example financial management of the conference organised by HySafe.

The current state of the preparation under the NoE HySafe is that the consortium is involved in the execution of the 3rd JPA co-funded by the EC and on the way to prepare the 4th planning period. Two internal projects in internal (non-catastrophic) releases and mitigation techniques in tunnels are presently being conducted. The first issue of the HySafe Handbook for Hydrogen Safety is going to be published in December 2006. The experimental capacities of the partners have been joined including a regular know-how exchange among experimentalists on workshops and a common detailed view on these virtual European laboratories and facilities given on the website. The CFD tools are benchmarked and further development of combustion modelling has been initiated. The HySafe accident database HIAD is going to be launched. With its relative open interface it is the first of this kind for hydrogen accidents only. The available mitigation techniques are presently assessed with an orientation for real application. An easy to be used and reliable tool for the determination of safety set-back distances is under development. The well established website offers a broad spectrum of flexible information exchange. Besides standard email and newsgroup services, meeting announcement and planning is available. The main document and staff administration is currently supported by the website. The successful 1st International Conference on Hydrogen Safety (ICHS) is going to be reorganised for 2007 and the e-Academy has started this year the Summer School activities. The RC&S experts established a procedure for setting up consolidated European votes in their WP meetings. It is planned to provide a unique European safety assessment framework for all subsidised EC projects if the EC support this “Safety Action Plan” activity.

The framework prepared by the pre-cursor EC NoE HySafe network for satisfying the steadily growing public and private demand for guidance in hydrogen safety related issues is worth while to be maintained by EINST HySafe. The recently initiated and coordinated activities of NoE HySafe generated already the reputation of this network being European's unique reference for questions related to hydrogen safety.

All these activities and achievements by the HySafe Network converge towards the creation of a durable structure as a holding entity for the continuation and improvement of the current Network work. For this purpose, the HySafe Business Plan deals with the first approach to a framework to implement the vision of establishing HySafe beyond its current network status towards the European focal point for hydrogen safety, promoting collaborative activities for the safe development of a hydrogen economy in Europe in the process.

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Page last modified on January 26, 2007, at 11:16 AM