Hydrogen Safety, Codes, and Standards

Sandia’s hydrogen safety, codes, and standards research program develops the technical data and scientific understanding necessary to offer science-based improvements to the codes and standards that define the safe use of hydrogen. These codes and standards are critical for the broader use and deployment of hydrogen.

Our research includes the study of behaviors and characteristics of a hydrogen release, including dispersion, accumulation, ignition, flame radiation, and overpressure. The team develops models to describe these phenomena and generates high-fidelity data that can be used to validate and verify these models. These models and data are, in turn, combined with quantitative risk assessment methods to develop the HyRAM software tool that supports DOE’s larger Hydrogen Safety, Codes and Standards Program.

two scientists examine a plume

Characterization of Hydrogen Releases

Turbulent Combustion Laboratory

The Turbulent Combustion Laboratory (TCL) provides a well-controlled, lab-scale environment for testing hydrogen release characteristics. Outfitted with several lasers, the TCL is uniquely suited to make high-fidelity, non-intrusive measurements of hydrogen release and combustion phenomena. The optical diagnostics employed in this laboratory include line-imaged Raman scattering, Rayleigh scattering, laser-induced fluorescence, particle imaging velocimetry, and Schlieren flow visualization. These optical diagnostics are applied to both high-pressure and cryogenic hydrogen releases.

Large Scale Releases

Staff at Sandia team with researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) to apply optical diagnostics to large-scale releases from a liquid hydrogen tank at LLNL. These large-scale releases allow models to be evaluated in a realistic environment at higher flowrates than can be achieved in the lab.

Quantitative Risk Assessment

Sandia’s quantitative risk assessment team develops methodologies to identify hazards, understand risk drivers, and develop strategies to reduce risk in hydrogen infrastructure. These techniques are integrated with knowledge of system design and hydrogen release behavior data and models to develop HyRAM, a software tool for assessing the safety of hydrogen infrastructure and informing codes and standards development.

Chris LaFleur

(505) 844-5425


“Risk Assessment of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles in Tunnels”, Brian D. Ehrhart, Dusty M. Brooks, Alice B. Muna, Chris LaFleur, Fire Technology, 2020, 56, 891-912.
“Hydrogen Refueling Reference Station Lot Size Analysis for Urban Sites”, Brian D. Ehrhart, Gabriela A. Bran Anleu, Ethan Sena, Alice B. Muna, Dongmei Ye, Ethan Hecht, Carl Rivkin. Sandia National Laboratories, March 2020. SAND2020-2796.
“Mixing and warming of cryogenic hydrogen releases”, Ethan S. Hecht, Pratikash P. Panda, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 2019, 44, 17, 8960-8970.