Severity
Incident
Leak
Yes
Ignition
Yes

Incident Synopsis

A hydrogen compressor had been shut down for repairs and was being put back into service when an explosion occurred, resulting in property damage. The compressor was equipped with interchangeable intake and outlet valves.

Cause

The discharge valve was installed in the intake valve position, causing the cylinder head to blow off and release H2 to the atmosphere. The ignition source was not indicated.

Incident Date
Dec 31, 1969
Setting
Equipment
  • Motive Power Systems
  • Compressor
  • Piping/Fittings/Valves
  • Valve
Damage and Injuries
When Incident Discovered
Lessons Learned

All valves and connectors should be clearly labeled to minimize chances for mis-connection. All technicians must be trained on proper procedures for both taking systems offline and bringing them back online.

Valves for compressed hydrogen gas service are discussed in the Hydrogen Safety Best Practices Manual.