With a global focus on hydrogen as a key enabler for decarbonisation, countries pledging to reach net zero emissions by 2050 are investing in the research, development and infrastructure to make it happen. Yet, ensuring safety and understanding challenges related to hydrogen is a critical part of this investment. This is why Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), with its decades of technical expertise and capabilities in hydrogen, has initiated the concept development for the Canadian Hydrogen Safety Centre. Newly launched and driven by a collaborative approach that integrates industry, government and academic membership, the mission of the centre is set to deliver hydrogen safety solutions across multiple industrial sectors and regions.
“Hydrogen infrastructure in Canada needs to rapidly expand in order to support decarbonisation efforts, and there are some key issues impacting the progress of this deployment”, says Dr. Jeff Griffin, CNL’s Vice-President of Science and Technology. “CNL, with the support of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, has been actively engaging with Canada’s hydrogen industry over the past year to better understand the challenges being experienced. We’ve learned a lot in the process, helping to inform the strategy of a centre of excellence in Canada to advance hydrogen safety.”
Key challenges identified in a CNL hosted Hydrogen Safety Workshop and continued engagement with industry include a need for codes and standards for rapid hydrogen deployment at scale to meet net zero targets, a consolidated body of knowledge to showcase best practice, easily accessible educational information for all industry stakeholders and a more developed regulatory regime for the integration of nuclear with hydrogen. Additionally, CNL identified a lack of awareness of the full breadth of hydrogen capabilities in Canada and internationally as well as gaps where capabilities do not exist and need to be developed or acquired. More critical ones include training practitioners related to hydrogen safety and a lack of research and development focused on hydrogen permeation, leak detection, and end-to-end materials compatibility (such as embrittlement).
“The Canadian Hydrogen Safety Centre will exist to not only meet the demand for timely, technical solutions to address safe infrastructure growth, it will provide education and training and help develop and implement codes, standards and regulations, and support governments, regulators, policy makers and industry on safety-related issues and solutions,” says Dr. Nirmal Gnanapragasam, Principal Scientist at CNL and Lead for the Canadian Hydrogen Safety Centre.
“The Canadian Hydrogen Safety Centre is critical for hydrogen advancements in Canada, which AECL will continue to support, especially given the core capabilities developed over decades of hydrogen safety in materials studies in nuclear that are directly relevant to advancing our hydrogen infrastructure in Canada,” says Dr. Amy Gottschling, AECL’s Vice-President of Science, Technology and Commercial Oversight. “In the same way we developed nuclear when it was needed, we can apply that same innovative tenacity to hydrogen.”
A dedicated team at CNL is currently engaging with industry stakeholders to determine contributing memberships. For more information on the Canadian Hydrogen Safety Centre, and how to become involved, visit www.ch2sc.ca. Those interested in learning more are encouraged to connect via [email protected].