Recent incidents involving hydrogen cylinders have raised safety concerns in the hydrogen fuel industry. The explosions on a fuel-cell bus in California and the leaking cylinders in the Netherlands have sparked investigations into the Type 4 compressed hydrogen cylinders supplied by Norwegian company Hexagon Purus. As the green hydrogen sector continues to grow, ensuring the safety and reliability of storage and transportation technologies becomes paramount.
The hydrogen cylinders that exploded on the fuel-cell bus in California were identified as the same Type 4 compressed hydrogen cylinders that had previously leaked in the Netherlands. Everfuel, a Danish green hydrogen producer, discovered a burst O-ring on the valve of a Hexagon Purus cylinder in Rotterdam, prompting them to halt deliveries as a precaution. Subsequent investigations revealed further malfunctions in the valves across Everfuel’s transport trailers. This led the distributor to withhold hydrogen supplies to several filling stations.
The recent incidents have raised serious safety concerns within the hydrogen fuel industry. As green hydrogen gains momentum as a clean energy carrier, incidents like these could deter public confidence and impede the wider adoption of hydrogen technologies. The investigations will determine the root cause of the explosions and leaks, and the industry must address the issues promptly to ensure the safe transportation and storage of hydrogen.
Ensuring the safety of hydrogen cylinders involves strict adherence to assembly guidelines and quality control measures. The incident in the Netherlands was attributed to improperly tightened bolts on the valve, leading to the leak. Identifying and rectifying potential weaknesses in the manufacturing process and maintenance protocols will be vital to prevent such accidents in the future.
Hexagon Purus, the supplier of the Type 4 hydrogen cylinders, is collaborating with relevant authorities, the bus manufacturer, and the bus operator to investigate the incidents. The outcome of these investigations will help identify any design or manufacturing flaws, leading to improvements in cylinder safety.
The recent fire incident involving a New Flyer hydrogen fuel-cell bus highlights the importance of robust safety measures in the hydrogen bus fleet. New Flyer, a Canadian bus manufacturer, has been delivering hydrogen fuel-cell buses for decades, and this event marks the first of its kind for the company. As the investigation continues, it will be crucial for New Flyer and other hydrogen bus manufacturers to take necessary precautions and reassure the public of their commitment to safety.
The recent hydrogen cylinder incidents in California and the Netherlands underscore the critical importance of safety measures in the hydrogen fuel industry. As the world strives to decarbonize and transition to clean energy solutions, ensuring the safety and reliability of hydrogen storage and transportation technologies becomes paramount. Collaborative efforts, rigorous investigations, and industry-wide improvements are essential to prevent future accidents and build public confidence in the hydrogen economy. The hydrogen sector’s continued growth and success hinge on its ability to prioritize safety while delivering on its promises of sustainability and energy efficiency.