Use of Detectors

flame detection system photo
Flame Detection System
Photo courtesy of HAMMER

Hydrogen is colorless and odorless, so human senses can't detect it. Personnel should use extreme caution when approaching an area where there is the potential for a hydrogen leak. Best practices include the following:

  • Listen for the sound of high-pressure gas escaping.
  • Gas and flame detectors should be permanently installed in indoor storage facilities where leaks may occur or where hydrogen may accumulate.
  • Listen and watch for alarms.
  • Use a portable hydrogen detector.

Hydrogen burns with a pale blue flame that is nearly invisible in daylight. The flame may appear yellow if there are impurities in the air (e.g., dust, sodium from the ocean spray). A pure hydrogen flame will not produce any smoke. Hydrogen flames also emit low radiant heat, so a person may not feel heat until they are very close to the flame. Best practices include the following:

  • A portable flame detector (e.g., thermal imaging camera) should be used if possible.
  • Otherwise, listen for venting hydrogen and watch for thermal waves that signal the presence of a flame.
  • Use a combustible probe (e.g., broom)

Always allow enough time for troubleshooting/debugging a monitoring system before it's used.