Hydrogen Safety Considerations

The actual dangers of hydrogen must be taken seriously. The hazards associated with hydrogen are similar to those associated with other fuels, and they differ where physical characteristics differ.

Hydrogen can help provide clean energy for various uses. However, as a combustible gas, precautions must be taken in its application. Hydrogen has many properties that make it unique, including high buoyancy, wide flammability limits and low flame visibility.

With knowledge of these hazards, hydrogen and fuel cells can be used safely in working environments

For information relating to Hydrogen Safety please see: Hydrogen’s Unique Properties and Safety download PDF Document

Also note: DOE’s (US Department of Energy) free online “Introduction to Hydrogen Safety for First Responders” course.  The course material takes ~45 minutes to review and covers Hydrogen Basics, Transport & Storage, Hydrogen Vehicles, Hydrogen Dispensing, Stationary Facilities, Codes & Standards and Emergency Response. A short quiz concludes the course

Characteristic Potential Hazard Control With Continuous monitoring
Colourless Odourless Tasteless Impossible for Humans to detect Detection Sensors
Low Viscosity Leaks Leak detection systems
Very Small Atom (can be absorbed into materials) Embrittles certain metals, can result in structural failure Ventilation, Material selection
Gaseous Hydrogen Low volumetric energy density Stored at high pressures Storage container design, pressure relief devices
Not Breathable Potential for accumulation in confined spaces (any gas that Is not oxygen is an asphyxiant in sufficient concentrations) Ventilation / Leak Detection Systems
Wide flammability range from 4% to 75% (Hydrogen to air volume ratio) Can Ignite over a wide range of concentrations; leaks of all sizes are a concern Ventilation / Leak Detection Systems