Use of Active Monitoring for Hydrogen Facility Risk Reduction

Hydrogen sensors are a critical safety element that facilitate the safe implementation of the hydrogen infrastructure, and therefore are often required by code for many applications (e.g., repair garages, fueling stations). The NREL Sensor Laboratory was established by the DOE Fuel Cell Technology Office to promote the availability and use of sensors. The research activity of the Sensor Laboratory is evolving from its original mission of performance evaluation to support sensor developers and to verify metrological specifications for end-use applications. While sensor performance evaluations remain a core capability, the Sensor Laboratory is applying a more holistic approach on the role of sensors in promoting hydrogen safety through risk reduction. Towards this end, the Sensor Laboratory RD&D effort has expanded to include the development and deployment of a hydrogen wide area monitor (HyWAM) to elucidate the behavior of cold hydrogen plumes; the HyWAM has also been used to validate a hydrogen dispersion model of ambient temperature indoor hydrogen releases. The outcome of the hydrogen dispersion measurements is to support the validation of models that can be incorporated along with monitoring strategies into quantitative risk analysis of facility design and operations to lower risk. The goal is to make hydrogen monitoring an integral part of an integrated safety system approach to reducing risk at a hydrogen facility (such as a hydrogen fueling station with LH2 storage). In contrast to past presentations from the NREL sensor laboratory, in which the outcome of a specific research topic or topical study was presented, this talk will focus on the evolving research direction of the Sensor Laboratory of using sensors as an integral part of the safety system to actively contribute to the facility design for risk mitigation.

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