During Operations

False Fire Alarm Sounds at Hydrogen Fueling Station

11:38 AM Sat Dec 30, 2017 -- larry.moulthrop

An audible fire alarm horn sounded on a weekday afternoon at an outdoor hydrogen fueling station. However, no associated alarm signals were received at the fueling station, local host facility, or district dispatch/call center. Host site security personnel placed a telephone call to the district emergency response call center. The horn stopped sounding on its own before first responders arrived. A district fire engine company and a HAZMAT (HMU) company responded within 30 minutes of the phone call.

Reacting Ammonia Borane Exposure to Air

12:00 AM Tue Dec 2, 2014 -- Anonymous (not verified)

While performing hydrogen gas release experimentation by thermally reacting a slurry of ammonia borane powder in silicone oil in a plug flow reactor, a discharge port on the test reactor became loose. A foaming white product was leaking from the fitting and discharging in the direction of the heat tape and insulation (back over the reactor). As a result, hot, reacting slurry flowed out of the port and was exposed to air. In the presence of oxygen, the slurry ignited, producing a green flame.

Partially spent ammonia borane reaction with water

12:00 AM Tue Dec 2, 2014 -- Anonymous (not verified)

As part of preparing for material disposal, a small fire occurred within a fume hood as a researcher was combining several spent ammonia borane (AB) samples that had previously been stored uncovered in the back of the hood for 6+ months. These AB samples consisted primarily of two 40-gram products of a 50wt% AB in silicone oil that had been thermally dehydrogenated. A small amount of unreacted AB slurry is believed to also have been present.

Pipe Ruptures during Hydrogen Regeneration of Catalyst

12:23 PM Wed Jun 25, 2014 -- Anonymous (not verified)

A distillate dewaxing unit at an oil refinery was undergoing hot hydrogen regeneration of the catalyst when an explosion occurred. Catalyst regeneration is a periodically performed procedure, in which the normal liquid hydrocarbon feed is stopped and a hydrogen-rich gas mixture is fed through the catalyst bed for which the normal operating temperature is raised from 700F to 800F. During the catalyst regeneration process the reactor pressure is increased from normal operating levels just below 600 psig to about 640 psig.

Rupture of Refinery Heat Exchanger

12:23 PM Tue Mar 18, 2014 -- Anonymous (not verified)

A petroleum refinery experienced a catastrophic rupture at one bank of three heat exchangers in a catalytic reformer/naphtha hydrotreater unit because of high temperature hydrogen attack (HTHA). Hydrogen and naphtha at more than 500F were released from the ruptured heat exchanger and ignited, causing an explosion and an intense fire burned for more than three hours.

Hydrogen Fire from Valve Packing During Maintenance Shutdown at Chemical Manufacturing Plant

12:23 PM Thu Oct 31, 2013 -- Anonymous (not verified)

A chemical plant experienced a valve failure during a planned shutdown for maintenance that caused hydrogen to leak from a valve and catch fire. Four chemical reactor chambers in series were being emptied of liquid using hydrogen gas as part of a maintenance procedure. Two heater valves were opened allowing 3000 psi hydrogen to flow in reverse direction to purge the reactor system for approximately 25 minutes. At completion of the purging process, a "light" thud was heard as the reactor empty-out valves are being closed.

Hydrogen Cylinder Leak at Fueling Station

12:23 PM Thu Jul 11, 2013 -- Anonymous (not verified)

An alarm sounded at a recently inaugurated hydrogen fueling station in a major metropolitan area. One out of a total of 120 high-pressure hydrogen cylinders, located on the roof of the fueling station, failed in service. Gaseous hydrogen was leaking from a screw fitting of the cylinder, but the hydrogen was not ignited. Three hydrogen gas sensors detected the leakage and triggered an alarm that resulted in an immediate emergency shutdown, isolating the leaking high-pressure cylinder bank from the other three banks and notifying the local fire department.

Pressure Relief Device Fails at Fueling Station

12:23 PM Tue Jun 25, 2013 -- Anonymous (not verified)

A pressure relief device (PRD) valve failed on a high-pressure storage tube at a hydrogen fueling station, causing the release of approximately 300 kilograms of hydrogen gas. The gas ignited at the exit of the vent pipe and burned for 2-1/2 hours until technicians were permitted by the local fire department to enter the station and stop the flow of gas. During this incident the fire department evacuated nearby businesses and an elementary school, closed adjacent streets, and ordered a high school to shelter in place.

Hydrogen Gas Regulator Failure

12:23 PM Thu May 30, 2013 -- Anonymous (not verified)

A single-stage regulator "failed" while flowing hydrogen gas from a standard 200 cu.ft. gas bottle. The regulator had functioned properly prior to the event through several on-off cycles. During the event, a solenoid valve was opened to allow hydrogen to flow, when a rather loud noise was noted and gas began flowing out of the pressure relief valve on the side of the regulator. It was noted that the low-pressure gauge on the regulator was "pegged" at the high side (>200 psi). The valve on the bottle was shut off, and hydrogen flow was immediately stopped.

Industrial Hydrogen Purifier Explosion

12:23 PM Tue Aug 21, 2012 -- Anonymous (not verified)

An explosion occurred in a hydrogen liquefier/purifier commissioned in 1987, after it had previously operated safely for many years. The explosion took place in the nitrogen cold box section of the hydrogen liquefaction process in an activated carbon cold adsorber vessel. Process records showed that the explosion occurred at the beginning of the regeneration phase of the activated carbon adsorber. When the explosion took place, the outlet temperature of the activated carbon bed was still at -190C.


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