Executive Summary

Executive Summary

Public acceptance of hydrogen as an energy carrier for transportation and power generation technologies will depend on the publics confidence in the safety of those vehicles and power systems as well as the supporting energy delivery and storage infrastructure. Ensuring the safety of the infrastructure for transporting, storing, and delivering hydrogen will be critical to the successful implementation of a hydrogen economy.

Industry has begun developing new packaging technologies and delivery systemssuch as mobile refueling stationsto increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of deploying hydrogen to end use consumer applications. Many of these technologies involve packaging that uses new materials or operates at increased pressure over existing industrial applications.

To enable successful introduction of hydrogen and fuel cells into the marketplace, the development of appropriate technical codes, standards, and regulations providing high levels of safety and environmental protection should proceed in parallel with the substantial pace of new technology development that is underway. If appropriate technical codes, standards, and regulations are not developed in pace with new technology development, the risks are twofold:

  1. The lack of appropriate safety requirements could result in delayed technology introduction, lowered technology adoption rates, or unnecessary additional costs to deploy new technologies.
  2. Technologies could be introduced and adopted which, to some degree, pose unnecessary safety and/or property risks.

The purpose of this project is to identify gaps in the current hydrogen technology base and to recommend solutions for closing these gaps.

The study used a hazard assessment-like procedure that incorporated the following steps:

  1. Identifying the Key Areas required for a safe hydrogen economy and their criticality.
  2. Assessing the state of these Key Areas:
  • Identifying that the important factors have been or are being addressed.
  • Determining if prior work is still applicable or if recent breakthroughs or observations render the prior work obsolete.
  • Identifying and prioritizing priority gaps and highlight areas that warrant further study
  • Developing recommendations for Key Areas, including research, studies, or trials that could close gaps and resolve shortcomings in understanding all aspects of safe hydrogen gas operations in consumer end-use environment.
  • Each Key Area was assigned a criticality and progress categorization. Criticality was categorized as high, medium, or low while the state of progress used the following categories:

    • Fully Addressed: technology is mature and safety procedures (not necessarily regulations) are established.
    • Addressed, Monitoring: technical work is well underway and safety procedures are reasonably well developed.
    • Addressed, Not Adequately: technical work has started and safety procedures are under development.
    • Not Addressed: no progress, or efforts are only identified or getting organized.

    Criticality and progress were assigned weights and the score for each Key Area is then calculated as the product of criticality and progress weights. The Key Areas were also divided into three groupsPipeline (continuous transport), Transport (discrete transport), and Crosscut (areas which affect both pipeline and transport). The Crosscut group largely dealt with material and environmental issues, such as embrittlement, strength and fatigue, pressure and temperature, etc. The timeframe for initiation of efforts to address issues was also assessed. This is not necessarily the same as the timeframe at which it is anticipated that the technology will be widely deployed.

    A total of 86 Key Area items were assessed: 8 Crosscut, 47 Pipeline, and 31 Transport. In terms of criticality, 64 items were assessed High, 21 Medium, and 1 Low. All of the Crosscut items were assessed at High criticality, largely because material and environmental issues potentially impact a number of transportation technologies.

    In terms of progress, 37 Key Areas have progress assessments of Not Addressed, 47 Addressed, Not Adequately, and 2 Addressed, Monitoring. Most of the Crosscut items have progress assessments of Addressed, Not Adequately as there are a number of material and environmental efforts underway, but most are in their early stages or are just getting underway. The Pipeline group is more evenly divided between Not Addressed and Addressed, Not Adequately while Transport has fewer Not Addressed compared to Addressed, Not Adequately.

    The distribution of scoresthe product of the weights of criticality and progressis 29 scores of 40, 8 scores of 24, 33 scores of 20, with the rest at 12 or below. A score of 40 represents a combination of High criticality and progress of Not Addressed. A score of 24 represents a combination of Medium criticality and progress of Not Addressed. A score of 20 represents a combination of High criticality and progress of Addressed, Not Adequately. The Pipeline group has the highest number of 40 scores, also representing the largest Key Area count for the scores both within the Pipeline and overall. The Crosscut group is mostly 20 scores, reflecting the progress assessment distribution for those items. For Transport, nearly half the items have 20 scores (High criticality and progress of Addressed, Not Adequately) as these items tend to be areas where applicable safety practices could be adapted to new transport technologies.

    In terms of timeframe, 62 Key Areas have assessments of 0 to 5 years and 24 of 5 to 15 years. All the Crosscut items are short term while 60% to 80% of the Pipeline and Transport items, respectively, are short term. Most needs are short term, either because the technologies are currently or shortly being deployed or because there is a long lead-time anticipated for development of safety practices for the item.

    Examining the combination of score and timeframe, there are 20 items in the short term with scores of 40, 3 items with scores of 24, and 29 items with scores of 20.

    Specific recommendations are found in each Key Area Item Assessment.