The preliminary investigation into the recent explosion at a hydrogen station in Norway has found the incident started with a hydrogen leak in the high-pressure storage unit.

Earlier today, Nel ASA released a statement with the findings from safety consultancy Gexcon’s investigation. Nel said Gexcon’s investigation showed that following the leak, a ‘cloud’ of hydrogen ignited.

The investigations continue in order to identify the root cause of the leak as well as the source of the ignition.

“Based on further investigations, we can say with certainty that the leak started in the high-pressure storage unit, and we are now carrying out investigations to understand the detailed mechanisms of the leakage as well as what caused the ignition,” said Geirmund Vislie, Vice-President Consulting of Gexcon.

Together with the authorities, Nel and Gexcon are conducting an off-site examination of the high-pressure storage unit, which comprises of both tanks and components from third-party suppliers and various components designed by Nel. 

Various tests and analysis have been initiated and will continue until the parties have a clear understanding of exactly where and how the leak started. Further investigations and data simulations will also look into the source of the ignition.

The low-pressure steel and composite storages were neither the source of the leak, nor the source of the ignition. No tanks ruptured in the incident.

“We can now conclude that Nel’s core technologies were not the source of the leakage. However, we are still searching for what ignited the hydrogen. We are grateful for all the parties that are working hard day and night to uncover the root cause of the incident, and are happy to see that good progress is being made,” said Jon André Løkke, CEO of Nel.