Department of Energy Announces Collaboration on Hydrogen Safety

April 2, 2019

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Today, at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ (AIChE’s) Spring Meeting, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) Director Sunita Satyapal announced a planned collaboration with the new Center for Hydrogen Safety (CHS), launched by AIChE.

With support from several global entities as well as the FCTO, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and AIChE will join forces to facilitate information sharing on hydrogen safety and best practices among national and international stakeholders with an interest in hydrogen fuel cell technologies. The Center aligns with recommendations made by the DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee, with roots back to a previously DOE-funded effort called the Hydrogen Safety Panel established in 2003.

Hydrogen is an essential feedstock and fuel in many current and emerging industries such as the petrochemical sector and fuel cell transportation. The United States already produces approximately 10 million metric tons every year of hydrogen for industrial purposes. Hydrogen can also be used across sectors, and is an energy carrier that can unite our nation’s abundant energy resources. For example, hydrogen can be made by splitting water using solar or wind when power generation exceeds load, and it can contribute to grid stability and resilience. Hydrogen can also be produced from existing baseload assets such as nuclear power, and can be stored, distributed, and used as a fuel or feedstock for multiple applications.

Recent years have seen a gradual increase in the use of hydrogen for emerging applications including transportation, stationary power, and energy storage. Thousands of fuel cells running on hydrogen fuel are already in use in commercial vehicles, forklifts, and backup power units throughout the United States. As interest in hydrogen grows, whether it is for fuel, energy storage, or industrial processes, making information on hydrogen safety accessible to a wide group of stakeholders across multiple industries will be valuable.

DOE's FCTO advances hydrogen and fuel cell technologies through an early-stage research and development (R&D) portfolio focusing on key technical challenges in fuel cells, hydrogen production, delivery and storage, as well as safety, codes and standards. The Center for Hydrogen Safety will support these activities by identifying key hydrogen-safety R&D gaps, and by bringing together valuable resources and expertise to facilitate information-sharing and understanding of the safe use of hydrogen across sectors in the economy.

Learn more about the CHS, and DOE FCTO’s R&D to enable affordable, safe and reliable hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.