The 4th International Conference on Hydrogen Safety (ICHS2011) adjourned in San Francisco (California, USA) on September 15 after three full days of technical sessions. Experts from the Americas, Europe, and Asia exchanged the latest scientific results and other information about safe handling of this energy vector of the near future. The ICHS conferences are held under the auspices of HySafe, the international association for hydrogen safety; ICHS2011 was the first of its kind in North America and was hosted by Sandia National Laboratories. The US Department of Energy, NASA, Siemens, Hexagon Composites, FM Global, the Italian region of Tuscany and the University of Pisa supported it financially.
Both the local organizers and HySafe representatives were impressed by the success of the conference. Jay Keller of Sandia National Laboratories, head of the local organizing committee, could find no fault: the plenary sessions were a success, the topical presentations were, and the whole setting was; he said that the organizers received a lot of compliments for the success of their work.
The number of submitted and presented papers rose to a new peak of 120; three parallel sessions instead of traditional two were necessary. There were 185 registered participants. The target to reach the attendance of the conference held in 2009 in France was missed by a narrow margin which can be easily explained by the fact that the majority of the HySafe members are based in Europe and that not so many students were present this time.
HySafe president Andrei Tchouvelev from Canada was impressed, however, by the high calibre of the participants, in particular those from the USA. Leading representatives of the US Department of Energy hydrogen and fuel cells program underlined in their presentations that the matter of safety is critical for the success of commercialization of hydrogen technologies; the consumer will never accept a technology which is associated with unacceptable risks.
Marco Carcassi from Pisa (Italy), responsible for the scientific content of the conference since its foundation in 2005, thinks that the ICHS is now established as the key global event in the field. The next ICHS (ICHS2013) will be held in September 2013 in Brussels (Belgium).
The objective of the International Conference on Hydrogen Safety (ICHS) is to improve public awareness and trust in hydrogen technologies by communicating a better understanding of both the hazards and risks associated with hydrogen and their management. Since the ICHS 2011 was focused on safety issues and measures to encourage more extensive use of hydrogen-based technologies, its contents was different from other hydrogen conferences.
The conferences have now been held in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011 in Pisa (Italy), San Sebastian (Spain), Ajaccio (France), and San Francisco, respectively. Their success showed that the matter of hydrogen safety is of interest to the public and to the scientific and engineering community.
All information about the conference now finished can be found in the web under http://www.ichs2011.com/.
HySafe is the global focal point for all hydrogen safety related issues. Founded in 2009, is an association under Belgian Law with seat in Brussels. Its purpose is to promote the safe use of hydrogen as energy carrier. The association facilitates the networking for the further development and dissemination of knowledge and for the coordination of research activities in the field of hydrogen safety. So it supports cost effective hydrogen safety research, enables innovative technologies and engineering, and provides education and training on a professional level. Based on its leading position in hydrogen safety research and development, HySafe determines the state-of-the-art in hydrogen safety and continuously develops further the associated strategic research agenda.
Dr. Ulrich Schmidtchen
BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing
Unter den Eichen 87, 12205 Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49 (30) 8104-4402; Fax: -3433