Severity
Incident
Leak
Yes
Ignition
Yes

A fire began in the compression skid for a high-pressure hydrogen fueling station. The initial source of fire was likely a release of hydrogen from a failed weld on a pressure switch. The initial fire cascaded to three stainless steel line failures, release of glycol coolant, and release/combustion of compressor oil. Non-metallic seals and hoses containing hydraulic fluid and coolant melted/burned and caused leakage of the fluid, which was mostly consumed by the fire. The local fire department responded and contained the situation by shutting off the power supply and spraying water on nearby equipment. The compressor skid was a loss and the fire caused moderate damage to surrounding equipment.

Incident Date
Aug 21, 2008
Setting
Equipment
  • Electrical Equipment
Probable Cause
Characteristics
When Incident Discovered
Lessons Learned

Shutoff valve location and/or redundant shutoff valves at storage vessels are important for containment to prevent escalation.
Consider design features within equipment skids to reduce the likelihood of cascading events.
Pressure-switch component replaced with better design.
Component listing standards are important to further development/deployment of this technology.
Consider improving leak/fire detection and shutdown systems.