Here BAM's expertise lies in answering questions on gas analysis, gas properties and gas purity. The aim is to evaluate hydrogen gases with regard to their quality, to detect and quantify impurities, e.g. by other gases or moisture, and to achieve the detection of leaks in the context of quality assurance and safety monitoring along the entire hydrogen value chain. BAM also develops suitable test methods to determine sensor suitability under realistic conditions - at ambient and operating pressures - and produces certified reference materials for sensory and analytical measurement technology.

Selected examples of our work are described below. Detailed information can be found in our brochure "Hydrogen: Our contribution to safety" (PDF) .

BAM Standards create the foundations for marketable Power-To-Gas technologies

To store and transport hydrogen over long distances, it can be fed into the natural gas grid. This produces hydrogen-containing natural gas mixtures with hydrogen contents in the lower double-digit percentage range. BAM is responsible for implementing the so-called „national standards“ for gas composition. This is a fixed reference value which is used as an anchor point for measurements. BAM is responsible for gas standards with regard to calorific value and gas composition as well as for automotive exhaust gases.

In addition to natural gas mixtures containing hydrogen, the actual purity of ‚pure‘ hydrogen plays a role. Polymer electrolyte fuel cells are very sensitive to poisoning by impurities found in hydrogen. BAM is working and investing in the implementation of the ISO 14687:2019 standard, which sets upper limits for many impurities at very low contents. In addition to knowhow, this requires a broad range of equipment and reliable calibration gases.

Test and measurement methods for hydrogen technologies

Hydrogen is flammable and can be ignited in air above a volume fraction of 4%. Thus, the use of hydrogen must be monitored and controlled. The application of hydrogen sensors can significantly contribute to guaranteeing safety and minimizing hazards.

It is essential to test hydrogen sensors in an accredited laboratory such as BAM in order to determine performance data such as service life, technical range of application, response behaviour and the accuracy of used or commercially available sensors and sensors from research and development.

In terms of hydrogen sensors, BAM is also committed to the development of testing technology for sensors, the testing of sensors during research and the creating of characteristic curves depending on gas concentration, humidity and temperature. Furthermore, they investigate cross sensitivities and long-term stability and establish guidelines, standards, norms and test methods.

BAM is engaged in the development of mobile gas sensor systems. If the investigation of gases for humans is too dangerous, unmanned aircraft or ground vehicles (“Unmanned Aerial Vehicle”, UAV or “Unmanned Ground Vehicle”, UGV) will be used. The integration of suitable gas sensors and algorithms for system control and data evaluation enables a flexible and (partially) automated monitoring of infrastructures and scenarios in which hazardous gases such as hydrogen are used.

Project MefHySto - metrology for advanced storage solutions

Advanced storage solutions for hydrogen such as Power-to-Hydrogen, Power-to-Gas, or Gas-toPower, are a prerequisite to achieve the ambitious new EU energy target of 32 % coming from renewable energy by 2030. However, in order to target the newly released Renewable Energy European Directive 2018/2001 metrological reliability in the energy supply chain for hydrogen storage is needed. Improved knowledge of the chemical and physical properties of hydrogen is also required including traceable measurements and validated techniques.

To address this, this project will assess the quality of hydrogen produced and improve the reference equations of state used for modelling hydrogen injection. In addition, the project will investigate the sustainability and reliability of fuel cells (FC), whose performance is affected by impurities in hydrogen and air and develop a harmonized method for stored hydrogen. Finally, the project will tackle metrological and thermodynamic issues in the large-scale storage of hydrogen in underground gas storages (UGS) and the conversion of existing UGS from natural gas to hydrogen.

Deep boreholes safer thanks to fiber optic sensors

Very small leaks in borehole casing can be located and quantified by fibre optic sensors. Early detection of such leaks helps to extend the life cycle of cavern storage facilities used for oil and gas storage.

Since November 2019, a combined measurement method for the condition assessment of deep boreholes has been developed, uniting the advantages of fiber optic temperature measurement with those of fiber optic acoustic measurement. With the help of this newly developed measuring and evaluation method, a fiber optic cable inserted into the cased borehole is intended to make leakages clearly identifiable und quantifiable in their order of magnitude. By combining the measurement data and eliminating the disadvantages caused by the movement of a measuring probe, more precise results for the evaluation of the borehole integrity are expected.