Hydrogen is already produced and used in industry; however there is now growing interest in hydrogen in the context of alternative clean energy. It is important that society is aware of the advantages of using hydrogen, in order to smoothly implement hydrogen technologies. By 2020, Europe aims to launch commercially available hydrogen fuel cells for both stationary and mobile applications. These include cars, public transportation, fuelling stations, and combined heat and power generation. However, cost, lack of infrastructure, safety concerns and public perception seem to be hampering transition to such renewable energy technology. The H2TRUST (Development of H2 Safety Expert Groups and due diligence tools for public awareness and trust in hydrogen technologies and applications) project comprised a team of highly experienced and qualified industry and academic experts. They ensured that non-technical barriers to the deployment of FCH technologies were properly addressed and promoted the knowledge and the acceptance of these technologies by the society. The aim of H2TRUST was to foster a smooth and well managed transition to full scale commercialization of FCH applications in Europe and, from a safety perspective, to aid the process by which all industry stakeholders are informed, prepared and supported. H2TRUST helped ensure that all the mechanisms were in place to inform all stakeholders, including the general public, adequately about H2 related safety issues. Risk assessments were associated with hydrogen production, storage and distribution, mobility and vehicles, non-vehicles and residential power generation, and regulators ensuring that hydrogen fuel is handled safely at all times. Results should help create a long-lasting culture of preventative safety in the industry, as well as a legacy of tools and knowledge that reinforce best practice and public confidence. The H2TRUST consortium gathered information about applications and safety through different methods, including interviews, questionnaires, surveys, case studies and literature reviews. In some cases, enough detailed information was not available due to the sensitivity of this data. Uncertainty about volatility and leakage is what overshadows people's confidence about hydrogen use. H2TRUST pinpointed that pure hydrogen is not poisonous or toxic and disperses quickly into the atmosphere, leaving no harmful residues. It also examined the impact of catalytic materials or those used in cryogenic containers, and the impact of high-volume hydrogen transport and storage. The H2TRUST project results provided a mapping of safety issues that were analysed in order to distribute clear recommendations, best practices and lessons learnt, thereby generating valuable and practical knowledge of the technology. H2TRUST worked to raise awareness of hydrogen technology and increase acceptance in Europe. Contact with key leading organisations in Japan and the United States were made through the project. Project findings were disseminated through the project website, seminars, conferences, a book (available online) and hydrogen safety demonstrations.
Hydrogen, fuel cell and hydrogen, transportation, power generation, hydrogen storage and distribution, safety