The NREL Sensor Laboratory: Status and Future Directions for Hydrogen Detection

Matthew Post, William Buttner, Kevin Hartmann, Jacob Thorson, David Pearman, Tashi Wishcmeyer

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The NREL Hydrogen Sensor Laboratory was commissioned in 2010 as a resource for the national and international hydrogen community to ensure the availability and proper use of hydrogen sensors. Since then, the Sensor Laboratory has provided unbiased verification of hydrogen sensor performance for sensor developers, end-users, and regulatory agencies and has also provided active support for numerous code and standards development organizations. Although sensor performance assessment remains a core capability, the mission of the NREL Sensor Laboratory has expanded toward a more holistic approach regarding the role of hydrogen detection and its implementation strategy for both assurance of facility safety as well as for process control applications. Active monitoring for detection of unintended releases has been identified by the NFPA 2 Storage Task Group as a viable approach for improving facility safety and lowering setbacks. The current research program for the Sensor Laboratory addresses both conventional and advanced developing detection strategies in response to the emerging large-scale markets, such as those envisioned by H2@Scale. These emerging hydrogen applications may require alternative detection strategies that supplement and may ultimately supplant the use of traditional sensors for monitoring hydrogen releases. Research focus areas for the NREL Sensor Laboratory now encompasses the characterization of released hydrogen behavior to optimize detection strategies for both indoor and outdoor applications, advanced methods of hydrogen leak detection such as hydrogen wide area monitoring approaches for large scale and distributed applications, the incorporation of active monitoring as a risk reduction strategy to improve safety at hydrogen facilities, and continuing support of hydrogen safety codes and standards. In addition to assurance of safety, detection will be critical for process control applications, such as hydrogen fuel quality verification for fuel cell vehicle applications and for monitoring and controlling of hydrogen-natural gas blend composition.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2021
EventICHS 2021: International Conference on Hydrogen Safety - Edinburgh, Scotland
Duration: 21 Sep 202124 Sep 2021


ConferenceICHS 2021: International Conference on Hydrogen Safety
CityEdinburgh, Scotland

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5700-80061


  • codes and standards
  • hydrogen
  • hydrogen leaks
  • safety
  • sensors


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