Institute for Thermal Energy Technology and Safety (ITES)


The H2 group of ITES is in charge of developing the research and projects regarding the potential benefit of hydrogen in the energy technology and derivate fields. The range of these projects goes from experimentation regarding fundamentals and accidental behavior, to applied safety assessment for hydrogen and hybrid (multi-phase) mixtures. The approach for this involves both theoretical research, and experimentation and simulation applied to real cases.

The work can be divided into the following topics:

H2 risk assessment methodology

Hydrogen technology is still relatively new in the industry scenario, and safety is one of the most important aspects to consider in order to allow its development. At the H2 group, various subgroups carry out safety experiments and simulations for current and future CO2-free energy systems. Experimental tests are carried out at the hydrogen test center HYKA, a complex of testing vessels and tubes. Numerical simulation development is carried to predict the behavior of gas and dust mixing and distribution, as well as the simulation of turbulent reactive flows.

Flame acceleration and DDT

“Flame acceleration” and “Deflagration to detonation” (DDT) are two phenomena, which explain the potential behavior of hydrogen after ignition. In order to provide a better hazard analysis in hydrogen facilities, a solid understanding of the conditions in which these could result into a laminar flame or a violent detonation is needed. The H2 group establish empirical criteria for these phenomena through experimentation, and incorporates its results into the development of simulation tools.

Alkaline high-pressure electrolysis

One of the most common methods of synthetizing hydrogen is via electrolyzers that separate it from the oxygen in water. At the H2 group, experimental and model simulation work is being carried out to investigate a new type of electrolyzers: the alkaline high-pressure variant. The main potential it would bring is the increase of overall efficiency and compactness.

Hydrogen mobility

The most diffused application of hydrogen currently is its use as an energy carrier for the transportation sector. The H2 group understands this, and aided in the construction and management of the hydrogen refueling station in Campus Nord, which supplies the hydrogen-fueled buses that compose the KIT shuttle service.