Center for Hydrogen Safety Launches at Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety

On April 2, AIChE formally unveiled its new Center for Hydrogen Safety with a slate of sessions held at the 2019 AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety in New Orleans, LA. The new center promotes the safe handling and use of hydrogen across industrial and consumer applications, and provides international partner organizations with resources that address both traditional uses of hydrogen as a feedstock and hydrogen’s growing use as a fuel source.

The Center for Hydrogen Safety was established through a collaboration between AIChE and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

DOE's Sunita Satyapal introduces new center

Sunita Satyapal, Director of the U.S. Deparment of Energy's (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, introduced the center to more than 500 meeting attendees during her keynote on April 2.

Satyapal discussed the DOE’s activities related to the adoption of hydrogen fuel cells as a renewable energy source for consumers and industry. A focus of the talk was DOE’s H2@Scale program, which is exploring the challenges and opportunities involved in wide-scale hydrogen production and use.

Center launches with multiple sessions

Following the keynote address, leaders and stakeholders in the Center for Hydrogen Safety participated in a launch event and panel discussion. At the launch event, Satyapal expanded on her keynote remarks, and was joined by Michael Rinker, Manager of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy activities at PNNL. Rinker remarked on PNNL’s partnership with AIChE and AIChE’s Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS), and discussed how PNNL would transfer its hydrogen-safety knowledge base to the new AIChE-managed center.

Nick Barilo, Hydrogen Safety Program Manager at PNNL and Director of the new Center for Hydrogen Safety, moderated a panel discussion featuring global perspectives on the adoption of hydrogen. Panelists included Aaron Harris, Technical Director at Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy LLC (U.S.); Stuart Hawksworth, Head of the Centre for Energy and Major Hazards at HSE Solutions, and President of the International Association for Hydrogen Safety (U.K.); Nick Smith, Director of Energy Programs and Services at the Department for Energy and Mining, South Australia; and Ryuji Kikuchi, Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo (Asia-Pacific).

AIChE is now working to transition hydrogen safety resources developed at PNNL to the center and is forming strategic partnerships with other groups at the forefront of the hydrogen energy transition.

Roster of international founding member organizations

As of April 9, founding member organizations of the new center include Ad Astra Rocket Company, Air Liquide, Air Products and Chemicals, Alakai Technologies, Deutsche Gesellschaft für chemisches Apparatewesen (DECHEMA), First Element, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Protium Innovations LLC, Sandia National Laboratories, Shell Oil Company, the Society for Chemical Engineers, Japan, UL LLC, and Washington State University.

To learn more about the Center for Hydrogen Safety, including membership opportunities, contact Nick Barilo at


Venkat Pattabathula's picture

I would be happy to be part of this new center as member on the board and I am currently on AIChE ammonia board