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HSE announced as partner in new research project to advance safe handling of liquid hydrogen

16 February 2023

HSE is one of eight consortium partners set to work on a new project that aims to increase the safety of handling liquid and cryogenic hydrogen in operations such as tube trailer transfers, port bunkering and transport refuelling.


The transfer and technical handling of liquid hydrogen (LH2) is relatively well established for industrial applications and within the space industry, however with use of LH2 expected to grow rapidly due to its potential to decarbonise other energy intensive sectors, new research is required to understand the implications for safety when it is handled in more public and populated settings, such as in new storage and distribution applications, where there are currently no science-based standards, guidance or validated models to enable safe operation.

This is where ELVHYS enters the building.

It's a project that will carry out a series of experimental, theoretical and mathematical studies on both cryogenic hydrogen transferring procedures and on the phenomena that may arise from the loss of containment of hydrogen-containing equipment.

The data generated from the studies will be used to develop recommendations for innovative safety and hazard zoning strategies and will lead to the future development of regulations, codes and standards for liquid and cryogenic hydrogen technologies and applications.

Working collaboratively as part of an international consortium, HSE Research and Consultancy, which is independent from HSE's regulatory and policy functions and is based with its Science Division, will conduct experimental research on its 550-acre site into the hazards and risks associated with potential fires and explosions from liquid hydrogen transfer facilities. The data generated will help develop and validate models for the use of LH2 in mobile applications.

The work is a natural follow on from PRESLHY, a previous project that first established the major phenomena associated with the release and dispersion of liquid and cryo-compressed hydrogen, the ignition of cryogenic hydrogen-air mixtures and their combustion.

Commenting on HSE's role, Stuart Hawksworth, who heads the Centre for Energy at HSE, said:

'The HSE Science and Research Centre is one of the few places in the world conducting this kind of research: Specialist facilities coupled with a skilled team, who have the right knowledge, capability and know-how of experimental design and delivery to work with liquid hydrogen safely. Liquid hydrogen could be a game changing energy vector for some sectors and we need to advance our knowledge of how to handle it, quickly but safely, so that we can support the transition to net zero'.

Find out more: The ELVHYS consortium is composed of eight partners from six European countries, involving academia, research and industry. A project website will be launched in March 2023.

PRESLHY at Safe Net Zero

Thomas Jordan, Research Group Leader at KIT and project co-ordinator for PRESLHY will be speaking at HSE's forthcoming hydrogen conference 'Safe Net Zero 2023' next month. He will use his session to disseminate key outcomes from PRESLHY and set out his ambitions for ELVHYS.

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