Abstract

Hydrogen is considered as an energy carrier for the future. It is enabling sustainable clean efficient production of power and heat from a range of primary energy sources. It can be produced from water using a variety of primary renewable energy sources such as sunlight, wind power, biomass and hydroelectric power and also from nuclear energy. It can also be produced from hydrocarbons such as methanol and natural gas by a variety of reforming processes. When hydrogen is burnt directly as a fuel or converted to electricity, its principal by-product is water, which can be returned to the environment. Hydrogen can be used in wider ranges of energetic applications (e.g. as fuel for traffics, heat and power generation for household, etc).

In order to make hydrogen available at a large-scale as an energy carrier, an infrastructure covering the following steps must be built up: production, transportation, storage, filling station, and end-use. The technical installations used can fail, and the necessity of handling incidents may occur in many places. Therefore it is reasonable to determine the safety technological conditions and associated operating procedures for the realization of the hydrogen infrastructure at an early stage. This is the goal of the present work in which system-analytic methods, called "quantitative risk assessment (QRA)", are used to estimate and to evaluate the risks, to identify possible weak points, and to make suggestions for improvement quantitatively.

In the present study, the QRA method is performed to evaluate the safety of the seven hydrogen study objects. They include hydrogen production, hydrogen storage, hydrogen filling station, and end-uses technologies (i.e. hydrogen private car, and fuel cells-combined heat and power for household). Firstly, accident scenarios of the hydrogen study objects are identified. Frequencies of the scenarios are estimated by using the probabilistic safety analysis-analytical approach, i.e. combination fault tree and event tree analysis. PHAST consequence model is used to predict the size, shape, and orientation of hazards zones that could be created by the scenarios. Finally, the consequence and frequency are combined to estimate the risk to the environment.

The estimated risk is compared with the existing standards, as well as with the systems having similar goals (e.g. LPG). The result shows that the risk level of the hydrogen objects lies in the risk reduction desired criteria. Should the plants be implemented for the public, the risk must be reduced as far as reasonable and practicable, typically subject to cost benefit analysis. Although, the individual risks of the hydrogen objects seem to be higher than that of LPG, but the societal risks are smaller. In other word, hydrogen poses smaller risk to the public than that of LPG.

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