March 20, 2019

PNNL Partnering on Center for Hydrogen Safety

Center will provide industry, stakeholders, and others with hydrogen safety resources and best practices

Hydrogen applications

Automobiles, trains, ships, and forklifts. Even cell phone towers. Globally—from the U.S. to Germany to Japan and beyond—transportation and other industries are increasingly looking at hydrogen as a relatively new but efficient, clean, and quiet power source.

But while hydrogen has been used safely in industry for nearly a century, its use as a fuel is still relatively new. Hydrogen is a fuel, and just like any other fuel it must be handled properly, depending on the application. The proper methods for hydrogen handling, storage, transport, and use are often not well understood by those who will either participate in or be impacted by hydrogen demonstration and deployment.   

That’s why a conglomeration of organizations have banded together to form the Center for Hydrogen Safety, which will launch on April 2.

DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is partnering with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers to establish the Center—a global-oriented non-profit that will promote hydrogen safety and best practices worldwide. The Center will enable information sharing about the safe use of hydrogen as a sustainable energy carrier, in commercial and industrial applications, and in hydrogen and fuel cell applications such as transportation and energy storage.

The Center will provide industry, stakeholders, and others access to hydrogen safety experts; develop comprehensive safety guidance, outreach and education materials; and provide a forum for worldwide technical solutions.

“PNNL has been a recognized leader in hydrogen safety since 2003, and we will be sharing our expertise and leadership with the Center,” says Nick Barilo, program manager for PNNL’s Hydrogen Safety Program.  Barilo, who will also serve as director of the Center, adds “We are in a pivotal moment for transitioning to electrification, and hydrogen is well positioned to serve as a key part of all of the above portfolio.”

The Center is being stood up in collaboration with DOE’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office, which will transition its Hydrogen Safety Panel and H2Tools website—a repository for hydrogen safety forums and tools—to the Center. But initially, the Center will focus on first responder training.

The Center is also forming strategic partnerships with leading hydrogen groups at the state level as well as agencies and other organizations worldwide.  It has strong support from various industries, some with long-standing experience in hydrogen and many that are relatively new to industrial and process safety. Founding members of the Center so far include Air Liquide, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Alakai Technologies, Deutsche Gesellschaft für chemisches Apparatewesen, FirstElement Fuel, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Protium Innovations LLC, Sandia National Laboratories, Shell Oil Company, the Society for Chemical Engineers Japan, and Washington State University. 

Says Barilo, “Having trustworthy and impactful resources like the Center will be critical for the safe and timely rollout of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.”

For additional information, or for your organization to become a member, contact Nick Barilo.


About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinguishing strengths in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address challenges in sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit For more information on PNNL, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.