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Hydrogen Fuels

Safety and Risk Assessment for Hydrogen Fuel

Using hydrogen as a fuel supply for transportation applications introduces certain potential safety hazards to the general public. Storage of hydrogen gas under high pressure poses risks to nearby personnel in the event of a loss of containment. Containment loss of hydrogen stored as a cryogenic liquid could cause injuries such as frostbite. In either instance, the released hydrogen poses a combustion hazard. Hydrogen burns with an invisible flame and has a very wide flammability range. Hazards such as these need to be identified in terms of the impact they will have on different applications and designs.

We have conducted a study of safety issues related to use of hydrogen as a transportation fuel. The study addresses vehicles and refueling stations. The study provides a review of safety-related operating experiences with hydrogen-fueled vehicles and historical accident events involving hydrogen as a principal agent. The study also provides a preliminary list of possible accident initiating events – the kind of information that would support a comprehensive risk assessment.

The study also provides a discussion on the applicable codes, consensus standards, and regulations pertaining to safe use and safe refueling, addresses the safety precautions that must be taken, and highlights the impacts that the safety rules and codes impose on vehicle and fueling station design.

The study produced a published report. We make the report available to you here free of charge, subject to the following conditions:

  • You must include disclaimer statement with all copies of the report
  • You may not claim ownership of the report
  • You agree to hold the report's authors, the INL , and the U.S. Department of Energy harmless for the consequences of any use or misuse of the information provided in the report.

Safety Issues with Hydrogen as a Vehicle Fuel (321 KB PDF)

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Department of energy

DOE Office of Nuclear Energy
DOE-Idaho Office