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Hydrogen Safety International annual kick-off meeting: German-Norwegian hydrogen safety debate

Hydrogen Safety

Safety is paramount when handling hydrogen and ammonia. But what does this mean in practice? How can companies actually implement this requirement? Which regulations need to be observed? A fascinating German-Norwegian debate on the topic took place in Hamburg on 11 January 2023, attended by a total of almost 60 participants from both countries.

Perfect timing

The timing of this meeting could not have been better, with the German government having agreed a close energy partnership with Norway just days before. Targets for supplying hydrogen from Norway to Germany were also agreed, which will involve building a pipeline in the medium term. Until then, hydrogen will be transported by ship.

As an arrival and transhipment port for Germany, Hamburg plays a central role in the import of large quantities of hydrogen. It provides inland connections to other European countries and is also home to numerous large industrial users.

Fascinating discussions and intensive networking

As a Hamburg partner, Renewable Energy Hamburg organised this event together with Innovation Norway (under the cooperation agreement signed in 2022) and the Norwegian Arena H2 Cluster Agency. Presentations by safety experts from leading industrial and energy companies, such as Vysus Group, DNV, Equinor, Yara International, Gexcon Certification, HOYER Group, Siemens Gamesa, Mabanaft and Dräger, covered a wide range of H2 safety aspects.

Some of the Norwegian presentations provided an impressive and vivid insight into simulated and actual accidents involving hydrogen and ammonia; this highlighted the safety culture for H2/ammonia production and consumption that has evolved in Norway over the past 100 years, allowing the German participants to learn a great deal for projects planned in the Metropolitan Region of Hamburg. There were also fascinating insights and discussions regarding regulation: for example, Norway and Germany take a different approach when implementing the SEVESO III Directive. Norway conducts a quantified risk assessment for zone planning, for example, and applies the ALARP (‘as low as reasonably achievable’) principle in addition to acceptance criteria. In Germany, on the other hand, specific safety distances are determined for the use of various hazardous substances.  

Satisfied attendees and organisers

Attendees provided excellent feedback about the event. Yngve Rothschild, Vysus Group: “What makes it fun are all the great contributions from everyone - looking forward to achieving great things together moving forward!” While Thomas Schwabe, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, commented: “This was a very good and informative event! Looking forward to the next one! Thank you for the organisation!”

The organisers were also extremely satisfied. Renewable Energy Hamburg jumped at the Norwegian Arena H2 Hydrogen Cluster Agency’s suggestion to begin 2023 with a joint workshop on the subject of safety in the hydrogen economy. The sooner everyone involved discusses the safety challenges of transporting, storing and using hydrogen, the easier it will be to establish a functioning overall system. And the international debate about this is extremely exciting. It was fantastic to witness the intense discussions and networking of experts from both countries. For us, this event marks another major step towards excellent, close H2 cooperation between Hamburg and Norway. Bjorn Ottar Elseth, Director Arena H2 Cluster Agency Norway shares this view: “We especially appreciate this first co-organised event with Renewable Energy Hamburg, organised in a very short period, and look forward to future get-togethers for the benefit of the hydrogen community and our partners.” Renewable Energy Hamburg would also like to thank our cooperation partner, Innovation Norway, for its excellent support!

About Astrid Dose

Profilbild zu: Astrid Dose

Talking, writing, organising – and having lots of fun! This is what my days at the EEHH Cluster look like. I’ve been responsible for public relations and marketing for the Hamburg industry network since 2011. I studied History and English and have a soft spot for technical issues.