When it comes to fuel, hydrogen is emerging as a rising star since it is considered more environmentally friendly compared to other natural gases. Although regarded as a clean energy source, hydrogen still poses a number of safety hazards and risks which are comparable to traditional fuel sources. The safe use of any fuel focuses on preventing hazardous situations by ensuring the appropriate safety precautions and measures are implemented during application.
In order to make this process more effective and efficient, a greater depth of knowledge and understanding on how to deal with hydrogen hazards is needed. Advanced technology and digitalization are necessary to build and grow confidence that hydrogen can be as safe as other fuels in widespread use today.
‘Hydrogen Safety and Digitalization’ were the main topics discussed at this year’s Gexcon Safety and Technology Conference which took place on the 4 – 5 June 2019 at Panorama Hotel and Resort, Norway.
Participants from all around the globe were eager to discuss process safety issues and share experiences with fellow practitioners in the field. Day-1 consisted of presentations by keynote speakers, followed by a site-visit to Gexcon’s jet-fire testing facility, while Day 2 was dedicated to the FLACS User Group Meeting.
After an opening speech by Jan Roar Bakke, Executive Vice President of Gexcon, the first speaker presenting was Roberto Aguilera, an Energy Economist of Curtin University Oil and Gas Innovation Centre, Australia and a Consultant of Servipetrol Ltd., Canada, who shared his knowledge regarding global hydrogen market prospects and the synergies with LNG.
This was followed by Bernt Skeie, CEO of CMR Prototech, who presented a hybrid solution by combining fuel cells for both natural gas and hydrogen for marine operations and offshore installations.
As an opening from a technological perspective, Hans-Bjarne Claussen, VP Digital Lead, Energy Industries Northern Europe of ABB, mentioned the importance of safety in IT and how ABB Ability™ could offer a set of enabling technologies to build solutions.
Next up was a representative of the owner of Gexcon, NORCE (Norwegian Research Centre), Ingvar Henne, Senior Technology Developer of NORCE and an Associate Professor of Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. He was presenting use cases and benefits of smart sensors for the Internet of Things from the research perspective. This was then followed by Inge Eriksen, Project Manager of Trisense, who presented the same topic as Ingvar but from a practical perspective.
Another insightful presentation came from Santhosh Kumar, Technical Authority (TA) Technical Safety, Upstream HSE of Petronas. He shared a solution on how to deal with lightning strikes which ignition may lead to vent fires.
The last speaker was Steven Betteridge, a Senior Technical Safety Engineer of Shell Global Solutions, who in his presentation titled “Large scale laboratory test as a basis for the technology and tools to increase safety” mentioned that more experimental data is required for greater understanding of hydrogen hazards to ensure the safety in using hydrogen as a fuel.
Once the presentation sessions had closed, attendees visited Gexcon’s jet-fire testing facility in Steinsland to see how Gexcon performs fire testing, such as jet-fire and pool fire. The facility is specifically designed to generate typical erosion effects from high-intensity jet fires and can test safety-critical equipment and passive fire protection (PFP) according to the ISO standard 22899-1, 2007.
As this year’s conference incorporated our annual FLACS User Group Meeting (FLUG), following the site visit attendees were invited to technical sessions which provided an overview of Gexcon’s consequence modelling software tools including FRED, Shepherd, PIPA, RISKCURVES, and EFFECTS.
During the networking dinner, the attendees had the opportunity to try authentic Norwegian cuisine while at the same time get to know other fellow attendees and discuss interesting process safety issues.
Day 2 started with the election of New FLUG Chairman who would lead the meeting. The FLACS user group meeting is a dedicated forum for FLACS users around the globe which gives attendees the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback regarding the usability of the software. Through this forum, users can influence the development of FLACS whilst promoting the safety levels of oil, gas and hazardous chemical industries.
Presentations covering FLACS R&D development, FLACS v11 commercial release and validation, and future development plans were delivered followed by a lively Q & A session. One of the liveliest sessions followed the introduction of Gexcon’s new risk analysis tool: FLACS-Frequency where many attendees wanted to have a practical test run.
Following the presentations, FLACS users had the opportunity to share their own experiences when using FLACS on projects.
The last session of the FLUG meeting was the ‘FLUG Wishes’ workshop. This enabled attendees to work in groups and provide feedback on a specific aspect of FLACS as well as their ‘wishes’. Gexcon received useful constructive comments which will certainly help in the process of improving FLACS.
Gexcon would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that attended and hoped they enjoyed the experience as much as we did. With the support of our partners, clients, and associates Gexcon will continue to share knowledge and strive to make the world a safer place.