Hydrogen – Now and in the Future
Hydrogen (H2) production, distribution and usage continues to grow, fuelled by environmental legislation and demand for cleaner fuels. Hydrogen can help global energy transformation, solve pollution problems, and achieve our decarbonisation targets. However, to reach higher levels of adoption, it is crucial to maintain and deploy hydrogen safely.Download the White Paper
Hydrogen Properties and Challenges
Hydrogen’s chemical properties pose unique challenges because it is undetectable by human senses. In addition, it is lighter than air and hence difficult to detect where accumulations cannot occur.
Propensity to Leak
- Small molecular size and permeation properties
- Extremely high diffusivity
Propensity to Ignite
- Very low ignition energy
- Fast detonation
- Wide flammability range
- Invisible flame with low thermal radiation
- High flame temperature
- Potential injury or loss of life
- Colourless, odourless and tasteless gas
Hydrogen Applications and Usage
Most of the hydrogen currently produced is based on traditional fossil fuel processing, including natural gas and coal, in locations where these energy sources can be found. However, a promising method of producing hydrogen in the future is water electrolysis. The process splits water into hydrogen and oxygen by using electricity. Electrolysis of water using wind, water, or solar energy is a viable alternative that offers a zero-emission cycle.
Oil refineries are large producers and consumers of hydrogen gas. Hydrogen plays a pivotal role in many refining operations, from hydrocracking, treatment of gas streams to catalytic reforming. In the latter, the gas is also used to prevent carbon from reacting with the catalyst to maintain the production of lighter hydrocarbons and extend catalyst life. As a result, refineries use large volumes of hydrogen produced on-site or purchase it from hydrogen production facilities.
Demand for Hydrogen is growing with changes to traditional gasoline fuel specifications prompted by environmental legislation, resulting in greater hydrogen use for improving the grade of gasoline. However, decarbonising transport will require a balance of already popular electric cars and alternative fuels to power vehicles. Hydrogen is considered one of the best alternative fuel sources to achieve this aim. Therefore, new investments are being made for optimising the cost of hydrogen production from renewable sources. This will enable hydrogen to be used as fuel on a larger, more economically viable scale.
Most of the global production of ammonia is based on steam reforming of natural gas to produce hydrogen. During synthesis, natural gas molecules are reduced to carbon and hydrogen. Then, the hydrogen is reacted with nitrogen at high pressure and temperature to produce ammonia. This is used primarily for fertiliser manufacturing, as well as several other industries, including pharmaceuticals, pulp & paper and refrigeration.
Liquid ammonia can also be used to store and transport hydrogen in higher volumes, approximately 1.7 times more than liquid hydrogen and at a significantly lower pressure than that of compressed hydrogen.
Sensor Technologies for Hydrogen Detection
Hydrogen detection systems that deploy diverse, complimentary early hazard detection technologies can mitigate the possible effects of gas leaks, preventing equipment or property damage, personal injury, and loss of life.Download the Guide
Hydrogen Gas and Flame Detection Solutions
Observer® i Gas Leak Detector
Acoustic detector utilising ultrasonic technology
- Instantly detects gas leaks at the speed of sound
- Detects gas leaks from 2 BAR (29 psi) pressure for rapid detection of small leaks
- Exclusive ANN (Artificial Neural Network) technology distinguishes gas leaks from other background noises
- Externally located self-test provides a full acoustic performance test
- Local display with magnetic switches enables operation without opening the unit
- One-person test and calibration with portable unit
ULTIMA® X5000 Gas Monitor
Point detector for fast and reliable leak detection
- Digital XCell® Catalytic sensor robust design provides long life
- Stable performance with increased active bead surface area
- 0-100 %LEL or 0-20 %LEL range using Catalytic Bead sensor
- 0-1,000 ppm range using Electrochemical sensor
- Versatile detection with dual sensing capability
- OLED display and Bluetooth App for easy operation
FL500-H2 Hydrogen Flame Detector
Designed specifically to detect invisible hydrogen fires
- Proven UV/IR technology for false alarm immunity
- FM performance approved 3 second response
- Wide 125° field of view covering a greater area
- Safety integrity self-check with Continuous Optical Path Monitoring
- Hazardous area approved test lamp allows for onsite verification
SUPREMATouch Fire and Gas System
Modular design to meet large hydrogen system requirements
- Scalable for up to 256 inputs and 512 outputs
- Decentralised configuration through the use of satellites minimizes wiring
- Digital bus technology provides reliable communication
- Complies with all relevant global safety standards with up to SIL 3 rating
Learn more about hydrogen applications and dedicated solutions.
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