RR769 - Hazards of liquid hydrogen: Position paper

In the long term the key to the development of a hydrogen economy is a full infrastructure to support it, which include means for the delivery and storage of hydrogen at the point of use, eg at hydrogen refuelling stations for vehicles. In the meantime as an interim measure to allow the development of refuelling stations and rapid implementation of hydrogen distribution to them, liquid hydrogen (LH2) is considered the most efficient and cost effective means for transport and storage. This will result in increasing amounts of LH2 transported by road, and possibly by rail, and storage of moderately large quantities at refuelling stations, many of which will be in urban areas. Although cryogenic liquid storage has been used safely for many years in secure and regulated industrial sites, its use in relatively congested, highly populated urban areas presents a new set of issues in relation to security, safety and associated planning. The Health and Safety Executive commissioned the Health and Safety Laboratory to identify and address issues relating to bulk liquid hydrogen transport and storage and update/develop guidance for such facilities. This position paper, the first part of the project, assesses the features of the transport and storage aspects of the refuelling stations that are now being constructed in the UK, compares them to existing guidance, highlights gaps in the regulatory regime and identifies outstanding safety issues.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2021-04-23