The recent multi-billion-dollar commitment to clean hydrogen initiatives by the Department of Energy will dramatically accelerate hydrogen energy infrastructure and use across the United States. Safely ramping up the implementation of hydrogen energy in new markets will require a skilled and trained workforce, but there has been no way to verify the workforce’s knowledge and readiness in hydrogen safety—until now. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) Hydrogen Safety Panel (HSP) partnered with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers to develop training materials and a first-of-its-kind credential in fundamental hydrogen safety. Deployed through the non-profit, Center for Hydrogen Safety (CHS), the credential went live in May 2022 and is poised to be a critical educational resource for workers in the growing hydrogen energy sector.
“There is a looming need for a trained workforce as hydrogen energy takes off, but there has been no obvious means to verify that persons are trained on the fundamentals of hydrogen safety,” said Nick Barilo, PNNL Hydrogen Safety program manager and executive director of the CHS.
HSP is a global leader in developing hydrogen safety guidance, with members who are engineers, scientists, code officials, safety professionals, equipment providers, and testing and certification experts. Originally stood up by the Department of Energy, the HSP has operated for nearly 20 years providing safety assessments, best practices, and expertise in the field. In 2019, PNNL partnered with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers to launch the CHS to facilitate greater access to the HSP and translate this knowledge into much-needed training materials and curricula for hydrogen energy professionals. The partnership between the PNNL HSP and CHS has resulted 19 training courses. The safety credential is the latest product of this successful collaboration, which Barilo has led since 2019.
“There is much we can accomplish when we do it in collaboration,” said Barilo. “Now, we’ve got to be visionaries and start taking steps—whether it’s safety credentials or developing broader education curricula—to support the future success of hydrogen energy.”
The safety credential is available through the CHS. The PNNL HSP is supported by the Department of Energy's Fuel Cell Technologies Office.