Third European Summer School on Hydrogen Safety
Karen Hall, National Hydrogen Association

The Third European Summer School on Hydrogen Safety was held at the University of Ulster (Belfast, UK) from July 21 - 30, 2008. This Summer School is funded by the European Commission under the HyCourse project (March 2006 - February 2010,

The state-of-the art in Hydrogen Safety is covered from fundamentals to applications, and topics include: hydrogen releases, mixing, and distribution; thermal, pressure and missile effects from fires and explosions; development and validation of mitigation techniques; safety assessment and risk analysis; and standards, guidelines and legal requirements. The teaching materials of this Summer School are used in the World's First Higher Educational Programme in Hydrogen Safety Engineering (

The topical content of the 10-day Summer School covers the whole spectrum of activities of the European Network of Excellence HySafe “Safety of Hydrogen as an Energy Carrier” and complies with the International Curriculum on Hydrogen Safety Engineering ( 

The Third Summer School was a great success and I am pleased that I was able to fully participate in this important educational and networking project.

Sixteen keynote speakers from Europe, North America and Japan as well as the 60 EC-funded and 8 self-funded delegates contributed to proceedings through lectures, round-table discussions, work-in-progress sessions, posters, and mock-up exercises based on actual hydrogen projects. The comprehensive program provided plenty of opportunity to gain invaluable knowledge on the hydrogen economy and safety plus provided a unique opportunity to discuss the latest issues and trends with fellow delegates as well as leading world experts from academia, industry and regulatory bodies. 

The US Department of Energy sponsored four excellent keynote speakers from Sandia National Laboratories, NASA and SRI International.

I was among 60 EC-funded researchers, which were chosen from over a hundred applicants. There were also self-funded delegates in attendance. Overall, there were nearly 90 participants from 24 countries - which include: Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, India, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the UK, and the USA. 

The course can be applied toward the world’s first higher education on-line program in hydrogen safety, a PGC/PGD/MSc in Hydrogen Safety Engineering at the University of Ulster. The program has been developed to provide qualifications for those pursuing careers as hydrogen safety engineers. A series of short-courses are also planned, which can be taken on their own or a component in the PGC/PGD/MSc program. An announcement on the first workshop is included here (

Teaching materials from the Third European Summer School on Hydrogen Safety, as well as those from the two prior years, are available for sale at

Participants enjoyed not only the technical and social program of the school but also had the opportunity to understand more about Northern Ireland, having a true taste of Ulster, the greenness and beauty of the local environment and the exceptional hospitality of the people. Most participants stayed in the student accommodations on campus to facilitate networking and have free access to the Internet, although there are also several hotels within easy commute. The food provided by the corporate catering staff, as well as that in the many historic restaurants in Belfast, was absolutely fantastic – better than any conference I’ve attended. 

I would like to encourage anyone working with hydrogen to consider attending the Fourth Summer School next year. Each year the program includes all new lectures, teaching materials and some new Keynote Speakers, so many past participants are expected to return. I hope to be among them. More information will be available on the project website in the near future. EC funding support will be available next year – so please apply if you have an interest in hydrogen safety. Female candidates are especially encouraged to apply. 

Organizations hiring new employees or assigning new duties with a responsibility for research or safety are strongly encouraged to consider sponsoring these employees for Summer School. I know of no place where one can gain the breadth and depth of knowledge provided by this Summer School in just 10 days. And participants receive a certificate of participation and the opportunity to apply the Summer School towards a degree program or post-graduate certificate. 

Information about activities of the University of Ulster Hydrogen Safety Engineering and Research (HySAFER) Centre can be found at Contact details for the European Summer School on Hydrogen Safety can be found at
, and details about registration for the PGC/PGD/MSc course in Hydrogen Safety Engineering at

Editors Note: Special thanks to Mr. Robert Morley and Prof. Vladimir Molkov at the University of Ulster for putting together such a fabulous technical and social program, and for providing much of the information used in this article. 

Hydrogen Installation Case Studies Available
Karen Hall, National Hydrogen Association

Hydrogen energy technologies are in various stages of commercialization. Technologies are being deployed worldwide to solve issues regarding fuel supply, clean, quiet power, uninteruptible power, and a variety of other applications. Increasingly, permitting officials are faced with reviewing a project that involves hydrogen energy equipment. In many cases, it is desirable to have information regarding similar projects that have been successfully seployed in other regions.

A growing number of resources are available to fill this information need:

DOE Permitting Web Site
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has developed a Hydrogen Permitting Web site. The objective of this site is to help local permitting officials deal with proposed hydrogen fueling stations, fuel cell installations for telecommunications backup power, and other hydrogen projects. A permitting process section seeks to help project developers and the public understand the general procedures involved. It is available at Additional case studies are expected to be added later this year.

Case Studies of Hydrogen Fueling Stations
About 60 hydrogen fueling stations have been approved for operation in the United States, and many more are planned. The case studies presented on this site are examples of operational projects throughout the nation.

Case studies are posted at for the following locations, as representative examples of the hydrogen fueling stations approved throughout the US:

  • Washington, District of Columbia
  • Oakland, California
  • White Plains, New York

Additional information regarding permitting hydrogen fueling stations can be found at

Case Study of Fuel Cell Backup-Power Systems for Telecommunications and Emergency Response Communications Facilities
Telecommunications companies have purchased an estimated 300-500 fuel cell systems. The following case study describes some of these telecommunications and similar emergency response communication use experiences.

  • Early Markets: Emergency Back-up Power (PDF 521 KB)

Additional information regarding permitting fuel cells for telecommunications can be found at

Permitting Workshop Proceedings
The NHA publishes proceedings from workshops relating to permitting hydrogen energy technologies at These include workshops that the NHA has conducted, as well as DOE Hydrogen Permitting Workshops. These workshops include presentations on case studies, as well as lessons learned during the permitting process. In addition, these workshops highlight recent changes in model codes (ICC and NFPA) that address hydrogen energy technologies.

Permitting Guides
The Regulators' Guide to Permitting Hydrogen Technologies was developed through a collaborative effort involving the National Fire Protection Association, the International Code Council, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

  • Regulators' Guide to Permitting Hydrogen Technologies - Overview (PDF 150Kb, 14pp)
  • Module 1 - Permitting Stationary Fuel Cell Installations (PDF 4781Kb, 42pp)
  • Module 2 - Permitting Hydrogen Motor Fuel Dispensing Facilities (PDF 487Kb, 57pp)

These guides address the applicable codes and standards for these types of installations, and include case studies. All are available at

IEA Task 19
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has published a Survey of Hydrogen Risk Assessment Methods, 33 pages, January 2008. This report, developed under IEA Task 19, is a survey of risk assessment methodologies for hydrogen production, storage and/or refueling stations. In total 11 example projects are reviewed. The methods applied in the 11 case studies represent standard approaches to risk assessment, following representative set of standards and guidelines. The survey discusses how the approaches differ how detailed differences determine their adaptability to the specifics of hydrogen risk. It is available as a free download at At his same IEA site, you can download Comparative Risk Assessment Studies of Hydrogen and Hydrocarbon Fueling Stations, 86 pages, January 2008. These reports focus more on the risk assessment methods used, rather than the case studies themselves.

Case Studies Featured in the Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Safety Report
Due to the increasing requests for case studies, the NHA will be featuring more of these in the Safety Report. This month, we are featuring the Shell hydrogen fueling station which recently opened in Los Angeles. 

To have your project featured in future editions, please send an e-mail with the project details, including some basic details on the permitting issues, to

Shell Hydrogen’s New Los Angeles Retail Hydrogen Station

Shell Hydrogen opened its second US retail hydrogen refueling station (HRS) in Los Angeles on June 26th during a press event involving General Motors, US DOE, and local public authorities and organizations. The HRS is co-located on an existing retail gasoline station site with a convenience store, car wash, and visitor center. In 2004 Shell opened the first US retail HRS in Washington, DC.

Besides being the first retail HRS in California the station also employs a unique application of utilizing the fueling canopy overhead deck for placement of the complete hydrogen system. The hydrogen system includes a 30 kg/day electrolyzer, 350 bar compressor, 36 kg compressed steel storage, control and balance of plant elements. The canopy is specially built to support this load and meets seismic and ICC hydrogen codes. Beneath the canopy are a gaseous hydrogen dispenser and a typical gasoline dispenser (four additional gasoline dispensers are beneath a separate canopy). Access to the hydrogen canopy deck is via means of a ladder access-chase.

Shell Hydrogen pursued this approach to the HRS design to apply the recently approved ICC hydrogen codes (2006) that define the requirements for such an installation and to demonstrate alternatives to challenging footprints at retail sites. In Washington, DC Shell installed the first below-grade liquid hydrogen tank at a retail station and in Los Angeles the overhead application provides the hydrogen community an example of another approach that helps minimize site impacts.

The primary AHJ involved was the City of Los Angeles, issuing over 22 permits prior to construction. Key departments engaged were Buildings and Safety, Engineering, Fire, and Electrical. Many of the permits issued were not directly related to hydrogen but rather general permit requirements necessary for the scope of the construction project which involved significant remodeling of the entire existing gasoline facility. The most prominent code used in design and permitting was the ICC code (2006 edition) along with appropriate references to other standards pertinent to hydrogen generation, storage, and refueling.

Shell and the local fire authorities met several times prior to submitting the permit application and there were also several meetings during the permit review process which is typical for many projects. The final permit was issued approximately 12 months following application however many were issued 8 – 10 months after application. The jurisdiction was aware of HRS projects but not intimately familiar with all the code elements and the proposal to utilize the overhead provisions in the code was certainly new ground. Shell and the fire officials discussed the project scope, safety systems, hazard reviews, and process flow piping which provided substantial pre-permit application feedback to Shell and information to the authority. During these pre-permit discussions Shell decided to change from proposing non-steel compressed storage vessels to using standard steel ASME pressure vessels to facilitate permitting. Shell may revisit the pressure vessel design in the future after positive discussions at the State level. 

Much of the fire officials awareness and knowledge about HRS and fuel cell vehicles had originated from industry forums and hands-on training sessions often times coordinated by the California Fuel Cell Partnership and the LA County Fire Fighters Association. Many area fire chiefs, lieutenants, and technical fire personnel have attended these sessions which was helpful to Shell’s efforts during initial permit discussions.

The station has already fueled many vehicles from several automakers as Shell operates the facility to be open access to all hydrogen fueled vehicles. A vehicle approval process is conducted prior to providing personal identification numbers (PIN) to approved companies/drivers. Eventually Shell intends to provide fueling access just as would be done for gasoline drivers.

Major Hydrogen Safety Events for September
Karen Hall, National Hydrogen Association

There are five major hydrogen safety, codes & standards events all the same week in mid-September. Please make your plans early to ensure you are able to cover the activities of interest to your organization.

  • September 17-19: HySafe & HyPER in Karlsruhe Germany
  • September 18 & 19: NextEnergy Annual C&S Conference in Detroit, Michigan
  • September 17 & 18: DOE HFS ermitting Workshop in Detroit, Michigan
  • SAE Fuel Cell Standards Committee meetings - same week in Detroit, Michigan
  • September 14-23: ICC Hearings in Minneapolis - key dates for hydrogen proposals expected to be Sept 16-18

America Gets New Glimpse of Hydrogen Powered Future
Excerpted from a Press Release from the U.S. Department of Transportation

Americans will have a unique opportunity to see what the future holds for hydrogen in the United States with the launch of an historic two-week, cross country trek of a fleet of clean, efficient hydrogen vehicles.

“Five years ago, President Bush challenged America’s innovators to develop new hydrogen technologies to help reduce our nation’s dependence on oil, and today we have a fleet of hydrogen vehicles making their way across the country,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary Thomas Barrett. “These hydrogen vehicles are the non-polluting cars of tomorrow and they are being demonstrated today on our nation’s roads.”

Nine auto manufacturers, the U.S. Department of Energy, California Fuel Cell Partnership, National Hydrogen Association, and U.S. DOT are sponsoring the Hydrogen Road Tour to show that hydrogen vehicle and fueling technologies are approaching commercial availability, even as new research and development breakthroughs continue.

Click the map above for specific information on tour stops.

“The technology necessary to put these cars on the road, and keep them moving, exists today,” said Administrator Paul Brubaker of the U.S. DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). “The question is not if hydrogen powered vehicles will be available commercially, but when.”

Brubaker noted that six transit agencies across the country currently operate hydrogen-powered buses, Southern California auto dealers are leasing hydrogen vehicles, and hundreds of individuals are driving hydrogen-powered vehicles in demonstration programs across the United States. And, he added, hydrogen can be used as a fuel for both a fuel cell vehicle or in a modified internal combustion engine.

In addition, Brubaker said, hydrogen produces virtually no greenhouse gas emissions, leaving behind only water as a byproduct.

“Hydrogen is part of a balanced and diverse energy portfolio that will help address our future energy, environmental and economic security needs,” U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary Clarence "Bud" Albright, Jr. said. “This tour provides Americans an opportunity to see what the future could hold for hydrogen powered vehicles, as we work to help make these vehicles cost competitive and available for all.”

The tour will make 31 stops in 18 states, stretching from Maine to California. Hydrogen vehicles from BMW, Daimler, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen will be making the journey, and will be joined by hydrogen transit buses along the route. Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. and Linde are providing mobile refueling stations and hydrogen fuel.

Learn more about the Hydrogen Road Tour >>