Hydrogen safety regulation in Queensland

Hydrogen is a versatile fuel gas that can be used to produce heat, light or power. Hydrogen is derived primarily by splitting water or reacting other fuels with steam or controlled amounts of oxygen. While hydrogen has served mostly as an input into a range of industrial processes, it has the potential to be used across a number of applications.

Emerging markets where hydrogen is used as a fuel gas

  • Transport—fuel cell electric vehicle and filling infrastructure
  • Heat—blending into the natural gas network or using in a network of 100% hydrogen
  • Electricity—generating electricity via fuel cell
  • Synthetic fuels—blending with fossil fuels in internal combustion engines
  • Export—export for use as a fuel
  • Hydrogen micro-grids—small scale production and storage of hydrogen and use in a fuel cell to generate electricity in a small off-grid network (e.g. to replace diesel generators).

Regulators and government departments

In Queensland, safety and health is regulated by government agencies including, the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate [Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ)], Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (Office of Industrial Relations) and the Electrical Safety Office (Office of Industrial Relations).

The Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation receive development applications and will notify all relevant departments of upcoming projects.

Regulation of hydrogen used as a fuel

The Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate works with industry and the public to regulate and improve safety and health in relation to fuel gases under the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004. This includes regulating hydrogen when used or intended to be used as a fuel gas.

Proposed hydrogen safety code of practice

A hydrogen safety code of practice (the code of practice) is being developed for applications that use hydrogen as a fuel gas.

The code of practice provide a consolidated framework on how to comply with existing safety requirements for fuel gas under the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004, addressing topics including:

  • safety regulation frameworks applying to hydrogen in Queensland
  • approvals for hydrogen gas devices (including fuel cells in vehicles)
  • gas work licences and authortisations including training and competencies for hydrogen gas work
  • hydrogen suppliers and delivery networks
  • hydrogen fuel stations
  • odour requirements for fuel gas containing hydrogen
  • hydrogen in pipelines and gas distribution systems.

While the code of practice will not introduce any new safety requirements, it will provide an alternative safety requirement to odourisation. Currently the Petroleum and Gas (Safety) Regulation 2018 requires all fuel gas to be odourised; an alternative safety requirement will be provided to enable the supply of unodourised fuel gas to fuel cells.

The key milestones in the development of the code of practice are:

October 2021 Registration of interest
October–November 2021 Discussion paper (PDF, 1.7MB) released and industry feedback received
October 2021

Information webinar on hydrogen safety in the mobility sector:

January 2022 Draft code of practice published
March 2022 Code of practice published
Post March 2022 Regulation amendments to call up code of practice

Contact

For any information on managing safety and health throughout the hydrogen life cycle or advice about proposed or current hydrogen projects please contact the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate.

Email: hydrogensafety@rshq.qld.gov.au
Phone: (07) 3199 8027