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Norwegian company fined £2 million for 2019 hydrogen fuel station explosion

22 February 2021

Norwegian hydrogen company Nel has been fined 25 million Norwegian krone (£2 million) for an explosion at a hydrogen fuel station in Sandvika, near Oslo in June 2019. In a statement, Nel said that two of its units had received fines relating to the incident in which three people were injured after a hydrogen gas leak ignited.

Nel said it would assess the fines and consider further actions. In its statement, the hydrogen solutions provider said that the root cause of the incident was identified as an assembly error of a specific plug in a hydrogen tank in the high-pressure storage unit.
Three people were injured during the incident, however this was due to the explosion causing the airbags of nearby cars to inflate. All three were taken to hospital as a precaution and were later released.

“Nel conducted a thorough investigation of the incident in 2019 and has cooperated closely with the local authorities. We’re surprised by the conclusion and the size of the fines and will evaluate further potential actions,” said Jon André Løkke, Chief Executive Officer of Nel.

Nel’s subsidiary was fined 15 million krone (£1.2m) while another company partially owned by Nel was fined 10 million krone (£840,000), a portion of which Nel may be liable for.

Since the incident, Nel has changed the assembly procedures of its hydrogen refuelling stations. The blast brought most of the hydrogen vehicle industry in Norway to a standstill with both Toyota and Hyundai halting deliveries of hydrogen cars until further information about the explosion was released.

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