Hydrogen leakage detection

Overview of the status and impact of the innovation



Hydrogen has a very broad flammability range – 4-74% concentration in air. Leakage detection technologies are thus critical to guarantee safety, as well as to mitigate any possible impacts on climate change (the GWP100 is 11 and GWP20 is 33, respectively 15 (Ocko and Hamburg, 2022). Despite both safety and environmental effects, sensor technologies are not at the maturity level that a hydrogen economy would require. New generations of leak detection sensors should be developed and researchers would do well to explore solutions based on acoustic, laser scanning, optical fibre sensors, infrared if a natural gas/hydrogen (NG/H2) mix considered, odourised molecules or strain gauge. Innovations should also focus on improving the existing solution regarding measuring range, tolerance, temperature and pressure ranges or response times.


Effective monitoring and control of possible hydrogen leakages across the entire value chain will, in the first place, lower the cost of hydrogen served at consumption hubs. Equally important, it will raise user confidence. Last, growing the knowledge on leakages and hydrogen losses will also help improve equipment like pipes, valves, compression units and so on.

BOX 9.5 Hydrogen and NG/H₂ leak detection for continuous monitoring and safe operation of future hydrogen or NG/H₂ networks

The European Commission acknowledges the need for advancing technologies that can effectively detect hydrogen leakages to boost a safe hydrogen economy. With this goal, it opened a call for proposals in 2022 with a budget of EUR 180 million. The call is expected to help research that focuses on developing and validating reliable leaksensing services and leak detection sensor technologies for hydrogen and NG/H2 mixtures. The proposed research work should start at TRL (technology readiness level) 3 and end at TRL 5 or higher.

Source: (European Commission, 2022).