Hydrogen Safety Sensor Performance and Use Gap Analysis: Preprint

William Buttner, Kevin Hartmann, Eveline Weidner, Rafael Cebolla, Christian Bonato, Pietro Moretto, Robert Burgess, Kara Schmidt, Hannah Wright

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Hydrogen sensors are recognized as an important technology for facilitating the safe implementation of hydrogen as an alternative fuel, and there are numerous reports of a sensor alarm successfully preventing a potentially serious event. However, gaps in sensor metrological specifications, as well as in their performance for some applications, exist.The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technology Office published a short list of critical gaps in the 2007 and 2012 multiyear project plans; more detailed gap analyses were independently performed by the JRC and NREL. There have been, however, some significant advances in sensor technologies since these assessments, including the commercial availability of hydrogen sensors with fast response times (t90 less than 1 s, which had been an elusive DOE target since 2007), improved robustness to chemical poisons, improved selectivity, and improved lifetime and stability. These improvements, however, have not been universal and typically pertain to select platforms or models. Moreover, as hydrogen markets grow and new applications are being explored, more demands will be imposed on sensor performance. The hydrogen sensor laboratories at NREL and JRC are currently updating the hydrogen safety sensor gap analysis through direct interaction with international stakeholders in the hydrogen community, especially end-users. NREL and the JRC are currently organizing a series of workshops (in Europe and the U.S.) with sensor developers, end-users, and other stakeholders in 2017 to identify technology gaps and to develop a path forward to address them. One workshop is scheduled for May 10 in Brussels, Belgium at the Headquarters of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. A second workshop is planned at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO, USA. This presentation will review improvements in sensor technologies in the past 5 to 10 years, identify gaps in sensor performance and use requirements, and identify potential research strategies to address the gaps. The presentation will also summarize the outcomes of the Hydrogen Sensors Workshops.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2017
Event7th International Conference on Hydrogen Safety (ICHS 2017) - Hamburg, Germany
Duration: 11 Sep 201713 Sep 2017


Conference7th International Conference on Hydrogen Safety (ICHS 2017)
CityHamburg, Germany

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5400-68773


  • gaps
  • hydrogen
  • hydrogen sensors
  • safety sensors


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