Safety standardisation of green hydrogen electrolyzer systems

Publieke samenvatting / Public summary

Large scale green hydrogen production by water electrolysis is one of the important solutions towards the energy transition to meet the CO2 emission reduction goals in the Climate Agreement. Although applied already for a century, the safety of water electrolysis is a growing point of attention. Safety incidents in new water electrolysis projects can cause serious personal injury, lead to economic damage and, as a result, less public acceptance.
Suppliers of electrolyzer systems, asset owners and authorities have limited knowledge of specific hazard scenarios related to the presence of hydrogen and oxygen inside the same equipment separated by a thin membrane. So far, fortunately, very few major problems have arisen. However, this is partly due to the fact that large scale green hydrogen production is still in its infancy. Once scaling up the production of green hydrogen, the risk of an incident will increase. Therefore, a better understanding of safety aspects, materialized in concrete new minimum safety guidelines and standards, is crucial to enable the expansion of green hydrogen production.

This project aims to develop new approach and toolbox for services and technologies with new safety standards for large scale industrial green hydrogen production. Thus, a common understanding of process safety aspects between technology providers of electrolyzer systems, EPC contractors, authorities and owners / operators can be achieved. This is a prerequisite for the design, implementation and operation and maintenance of large-scale electrolysis systems for production of green hydrogen. In this way we can fulfil implementation of the energy transition challenges and accelerate the green hydrogen economy.
The objectives of the project are:
1. Achieve an understanding of credible hazard scenarios for electrolyzers.
2. Develop, align and improve alignment of permitting, user and supplier requirements on process safety.
3. Prepare new guidelines and practices including industry wide minimum safety requirements.
4. Achieve standardization of electrolysers through recommendations with a normalization institute.

Korte omschrijving
Intended activities are:
1. Reaching common understanding how to avoid credible hazard scenarios for electrolyzers, mainly fire and explosion hazards.
2. Achieving minimum safety requirements between end-users, EPCs, OEM’s and authorities
3. Development of safety guidelines and practices
4. Achieve standardization through recommendations with a normalisation institute.

The anticipated results are as follows:
1. Defined hazard scenarios, barriers, failures and consequences for electrolyzers.
2. A report on levelized minimum safety requirements across industry, OEM's and authorities in selected EU counties, eg methods, safeguarding, building, safety distances.
3. New guidelines and practices with minimum safety requirements for green hydrogen production
4. Recommendations for developing industry wide standards addressing process safety for electrolyzers