Safety Training for the Hydrogen Economy 2006-01-0329
The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the Volpentest Hazardous Materials Management and Emergency Response (HAMMER) Training and Education Center are helping to prepare emergency responders and permitting/code enforcement officials for their respective roles in the gradual transition to the hydrogen economy. Safety will be a critical component of the anticipated hydrogen transition. Public confidence goes hand in hand with perceived safety to such an extent that, without it, the envisioned transition is unlikely to occur. Stakeholders and the public must be reassured that hydrogen, although very different from gasoline and other conventional fuels, is no more dangerous. Ensuring safety in the hydrogen infrastructure will require a suitably trained emergency response force for containing the inevitable incidents as they occur, coupled with knowledgeable code officials to ensure that such incidents are kept to a minimum.
PNNL and HAMMER are, therefore, designing a hydrogen safety training program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and Infrastructure Technologies (HFCIT) Program, and modeled after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) multi-tiered approach to hazardous materials training. Capabilities under development at HAMMER include classroom and long-distance (i.e., satellite and Internet broadcast) learning, and in the future may include life-sized, hands-on hydrogen burn props for “Training as Real as it Gets.”