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HSE hydrogen expertise helps propel the possibility of zero-carbon aviation

21st October 2021

HSE's knowledge and expertise in the safe use of gaseous and liquid hydrogen is helping the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) assess the risks and safety implications of using hydrogen as part of its FlyZero programme.

Led by the ATI and backed by the UK Government, FlyZero is a research project aiming to make zero-carbon emission air travel possible by the end of the decade and position the UK at the forefront of sustainable flight in terms of design, manufacture, technology and skills.

ATI FlyZero scout aircraft concepts - September 2021 (1).jpg

Image published with kind permission of the Aerospace Technology Institute

HSE, through its Research and Consultancy services, will support a work package designed to assess the risks and safety implications that the storage, distribution and refuelling of hydrogen, on both the ground and on aircraft, may pose.

HSE will conduct a multi-phased review of the physical properties of hydrogen and apply them to aircraft release hazard scenarios. This will include a comparative review of the relevant Regulations, Codes and Standards (RCS) that would apply to an airport using hydrogen.

Based at HSE's Science and Research Centre, an extensive, large-scale experimental facility in Buxton, Derbyshire, the project team will draw upon over twenty years of world-leading, cutting-edge research looking into the practicality, risk and safety issues associated with utilising hydrogen as a source of energy.

Recent and current projects conducted by the HSE team include separate international pre-normative research projects on liquid hydrogen safety and the safety of hydrogen in confined spaces.

HSE Research and Consultancy, which is independent from HSE's regulatory and policy functions and based within its Science Division, is also involved in a range of international representation work at ISO, IEA, IPHE, European Commission and the International Association for Hydrogen Safety.

Speaking about this work, HSE's Aerospace Sector Manager Dr Nigel Moss said:

'We are delighted to be sharing our expertise in hydrogen safety with the FlyZero programme to help make zero-emission aviation not only a reality, but a safe environment for passengers and workers in the industry'.

FlyZero Project Director Chris Gear said:

'Hydrogen has huge potential to enable zero-carbon emission commercial flight and our work with HSE will help the UK aerospace sector to safely unlock its capability to power the next generation of aircraft into our skies'.

To find out more about the FlyZero programme, please visit the ATI website.

FlyZero's first report Primary Energy Source Comparison & Selection published in September 2021 identified liquid hydrogen as the fuel of the future owing to its very high power to weight ratio and zero-carbon emission credentials. Download the report to find out more.

To learn why HSE Research and Consultancy is the ideal safety partner to assist with the development of the sustainable fuels, zero-emission aircraft and airport infrastructure required for 'jet zero', watch this short video from Kate Jeffrey.


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