WHA’s 2022 Annual Update
For WHA, 2021 was a year of change and growth. For many in the world, things may have slowed down, but industry is still pressing forward. Safety for oxygen, hydrogen, and other hazardous fluids is more important than ever.
At WHA International, Inc., that growth manifested in several ways, including multiple outstanding new hires, new testing facilities, a record number of students attending training events, and an unprecedented demand for hydrogen safety services.
WHA’s forensic and failure analysis engineers investigated an increased number of cases in 2021. Our work included more international projects, including notable cases in Europe and South America.
Hydrogen continues to be a point of growing interest, encompassing almost 10% of WHA’s new projects in 2021. Hydrogen-related projects span our service areas, including failure analysis, hazard analysis, testing, and technical training. Much of this work included our recently updated Hydrogen Combustion Risk Analysis (HCRA) method.
WHA team members also maintain active leadership and involvement in industry organizations, including ISO and the Hydrogen Safety Panel.
Custom testing is literally “booming” after the installation of a new test bunker at WHA’s Remote Testing Site outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Here, WHA engineers have been performing unique custom high-energy tests with synthesis gasses containing acetylene and unstable oxidizing gases like nitrous oxide.
Custom testing also features exciting new hydrogen applications, including research performed for the U.S. Department of Transportation (more on that later this year).
Last year we began preliminary expansion plans for the WHA facilities. In 2022, we expect to begin construction and renovation of a new custom test area, cleaning area, machine shop, offices, and more. We look forward to accommodating increased demand for custom testing and oxygen cleaning with these expanded facilities.
Despite the pandemic, WHA’s technical training courses continued to reach the far corners of the globe in 2021, servicing clients on nearly every continent and industry using oxygen and hydrogen. Our new virtual learning formats enabled hundreds of students from multiple countries to attend WHA’s premier oxygen and hydrogen safety training courses.
In addition to continuing the widespread success of our virtual learning options, WHA is looking forward to once again hosting in-person training events in 2022 and hopes to see you there!
“Possibly the best safety course I’ve ever taken. The instructors provided the right amount of technical justification, relevant examples, and plenty of time for discussion.”
– Jesse Hensley, NREL
WHA International employs some of the top engineers in the industry, but you don’t have to take our word for it… Read about ASTM’s and NASA’s recognition of several team members in 2021!
- ASTM Award of Merit: Since 1975, the non-profit organization ASTM International has played a significant role in the safe design and use of oxygen systems. In April, WHA Engineer and Chief Strategy Officer Elliot Forsyth received ASTM’s Award of Merit, the highest society award granted to an individual member for distinguished service. Read more here.
- NASA Space Flight Awareness Team Award: In 2020, SpaceX and NASA launched two Americans into space on the Demo-2 mission. It was the first astronaut launch from U.S. soil since the Space Shuttle Program’s retirement. In August 2021, NASA presented a Space Flight Awareness (SFA) Team Award to a group that demonstrated exemplary teamwork in overcoming significant challenges to make the launch happen. The team featured a wide variety of technical experts, including two team members supplied by WHA: Harold Beeson and Joe Whitehead. Read more here.
At WHA, we’re proud to set time and resources aside to help our community outside of our work. We recognize the value of sharing our abundance with worthy causes. In 2021, WHA matched $26,000 that employees donated to 28 charities, totaling $52,000 given back to the community.
Industry News and Informational Resources.
As a leading authority for oxygen and hydrogen safety, we prioritize sharing knowledge and information with industry partners. Below are a few quick links to notable publications from 2021.
Paving the Way in Hydrogen Safety.
Our assessment methodologies are constantly evolving in response to the fast-growing hydrogen economy. To help us understand where we’ve been—and where the industry is going—we spoke with two WHA hydrogen safety experts: Harold Beeson, Ph.D. and Danielle “Dani” Murphy, Ph.D. Read the interview.
Hydrogen Safety Training FAQs
A significant component of expanding hydrogen safety throughout industry is sharing our expertise via comprehensive, cumulative training courses. We spoke with Dani Murphy, Ph.D., one of our course instructors and resident hydrogen experts about what you can expect from one of our numerous training events. Read the interview here.
Configurational Oxygen Testing.
In 2016, Flowserve Corporation approached WHA International, Inc. to help create a unique solution to a common problem in industry. Many large industrial oxygen components are too large to perform full component-level tests for oxygen safety evaluations. Flowserve wanted to create a new “configurational” test system but knew it would require an experienced partner. Learn more here.
Material Thickness Flammability Test.
Because materials can ignite and burn more easily in oxygen-enriched atmospheres, they undergo a battery of standardized tests to see how they perform in oxygen service. Although these tests are thorough, there is still a gap in quality data concerning one unique factor affecting flammability: material thickness. Read more about how WHA oxygen safety engineers developed a new test configuration to capture valuable new data and help keep industry safe in our blog post.
Defending against oxygen fires in medical oxygen equipment.
Today, millions of medical oxygen devices are used safely worldwide, largely thanks to strict international safety standards. WHA has both the oxygen hazards analysis expertise and the testing capabilities necessary to help medical device manufacturers demonstrate compliance with these safety standards, including ISO/IEC 60601-1 and ISO 15001. Read more about WHA’s qualifications and capabilities in our blog post.
Real-world oxygen fire evidence.
Over 30+ years of investigating oxygen fires at WHA, we have documented hundreds of incidents and related fire-damaged artifacts. They each provide an essential reminder of the hazards of working with oxygen. Take a sobering look at some artifacts and case studies that underscore the need for oxygen safety in our Real World Oxygen Fire Evidence blog.
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