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Detection and Mitigation of Hydrogen Releases

As the share of green energy continues to increase worldwide, the demand for hydrogen is projected to grow rapidly. Production rates in 2022 of nearly 100 mT [1] are expected to triple to 300 mT by 2030 [2]. With such a rapid growth rate, many new players are entering the hydrogen production market. Hydrogen vapors are especially hazardous due to their large flammability range, high reactivity, and low minimum ignition energy. A great need therefore exists for process safety knowledge sharing that is focused on hydrogen safety at such facilities.

Hydrogen behaves very differently from other materials. While hydrogen vapors are known to rapidly rise due to its very low molecular weight, liquefied hydrogen (LH2) is known to stay low to the ground including just after evaporating like other cryogenic liquids. Hydrogen has other unique characteristics as well due to a very low normal boiling point. The viscosity of LH2 becomes very low, allowing it to flow with minimal losses of kinetic energy. Altogether, a flammable vapor cloud from a LH2 release can travel a far distance even though it does not form a liquid pool.

Advances in hydrogen safety are forthcoming and continue to evolve. In addition, several software vendors have specifically focused on more accurately modeling the properties and consequences of hydrogen releases.

A selection of case studies will be shared in which hypothetical indoor and outdoor liquid and vapor hydrogen releases from new hydrogen facilities were evaluated. The case study selection will include an analysis of selection and placement of gas and flame detectors for hydrogen releases and a review of potential hazard preventions and mitigations.

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