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Risk-Based Maintenance models for hydrogen systems: a review for the glass and aluminium industry


The urgent need to mitigate climate change has placed decarbonisation at the forefront of global energy policy.
Among other sectors, industrial high-temperature heat is very energy-demanding (1280 Mtoe/year in 2018 (IEA,
2019)) and responsible for 1.1GtCO2/year of direct emissions (IEA, 2019). Hydrogen has the potential to play a
pivotal role in replacing fossil fuels as the primary source of heat for the glass and aluminium industry sectors.
In this context, the Horizon Europe project H2GLASS (advancing Hydrogen (H2) technologies and smart
production systems TO decarbonise the GLass and Aluminium SectorS) was launched at the beginning of 2023.
The target is to address the technical, economical, and safety-related challenges of decarbonising the glass
industry by replacing natural gas with hydrogen as fuel to the furnace, as well as demonstrating the applicability
of the findings to other sectors, such as the aluminium industry. The project includes 23 industry partners and six
use-case demonstrations. In addition to focusing on technology development and economic feasibility analyses,
there is a need to investigate the safety aspect, which is currently a bottleneck in the roll-out of hydrogen
technologies. Hydrogen is classified as a dangerous substance: it is flammable and can be responsible for material
degradation. One of the main issues related to its use is hydrogen embrittlement, which is the loss of ductility and
strength due to the entry of atomic hydrogen into the metal lattice. Maintenance and inspection activities and
procedures are crucial in preventing integrity loss of hydrogen systems and ensuring safe operations. In this
perspective, maintenance should be considered to mitigate material degradation and to avoid loss of equipment
integrity and consequent accidents. Over the last decades, different industry sectors have adopted several
maintenance techniques and strategies. The Risk-Based Maintenance (RBM) methodology is analysed following
the proposal to adopt the Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) methodology for hydrogen technologies (Campari et al.,
2022). The RBM approach prioritises maintenance activities based on the associated level of risk to avoid
unnecessary operations and to reduce shutdowns, lessening the overall costs. A questionnaire on the maintenance
policies and approaches used for the glass industry has been distributed to the H2GLASS consortium. The survey
aimed at identifying needs and knowledge gaps in the maintenance and inspection procedures when replacing
natural gas with hydrogen as fuel for the furnace. This article presents a literature review of the RBM
methodology for hydrogen technologies. Furthermore, the paper summarises the findings from the questionnaire
shared with the H2GLASS partners and identifies the criticalities of applying RBM to the glass case. Changes to
the maintenance and inspection policies are also suggested based on the combination of the survey findings and
the RBM methodology review.
KEYWORDS: Risk-Based Maintenance, Hydrogen safety, Glass Industry


Academic article


  • EC/H2020 / 101092153





  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • SINTEF Manufacturing
  • SINTEF Energy Research / Gassteknologi



Published in

Institution of Chemical Engineers Symposium Series




Institution of Chemical Engineers



View this publication at Cristin