(Oslo, June 27, 2019) Nel ASA (Nel, OSE:NEL) announces new findings from safety consultancy Gexcon regarding the incident at the Kjørbo hydrogen station on June 10, 2019. The root cause of the incident has been identified as an assembly error of a specific plug in a hydrogen tank in the high-pressure storage unit. Following the identification of the root cause, Nel has initiated an inspection and integrity verification program for the high-pressure storage units with similar plugs.
The preliminary Gexcon investigation shows that the incident started with a hydrogen leak from a plug in one of the tanks in the high-pressure storage unit. This leak created a mixture of hydrogen and air that ignited. The investigations will continue into the specific source of ignition.
“Based on our investigations and analysis, we can conclude that the leak started in a specific plug assembly in one of the tanks of the high-pressure storage unit. We will continue the investigations to understand the possible mechanisms of ignition,” says Geirmund Vislie, Vice President Consulting of Gexcon.
Together with the authorities, Nel and Gexcon have finalized the off-site examination of the high-pressure storage unit. With the root cause now identified, Nel will conduct an inspection and integrity verification program for the high-pressure storage units with similar plugs. Additionally, Nel has initiated a program outlining new assembly, verification, and documentation procedures.
Previous generation stations, as well as US and Korea stations, have a different concept and design for the high-pressure storage units. As such, a leakage of the kind experienced at Kjørbo cannot occur at these stations.
Nel will present the preliminary findings from the Gexcon investigation at press conferences on Friday 28 June 2019; see separate announcements for more information.
“We deeply apologize to those directly and indirectly affected by the incident. Nel has an unwavering ambition: No incidents at sites with our technology. We take this extremely seriously and have deployed our full resources to resolve the situation. With the root cause now identified, we are implementing measures to prevent this ever happening again,” says Jon André Løkke, CEO of Nel, and continues:
“Further, we’re happy that the Nel core technologies were not the cause of the leak, and that the fueling stations with different high-pressure storage designs can be reopened soon.”
Nel has published a dedicated status update and Q&A site to address the incident at the Kjørbo hydrogen station. The site can be accessed on www.nelhydrogen.com, and will be updated as new information becomes available.