Research staff were performing measurements of Hydrogen (H2) solubility of a physical solvent in the Continuously Stirred Tank Reactor. A Carbon Monoxide (CO) gas alarm behind the unit activated and caused a shut-down of all units. This action causes all of the gas supplies to the units to be terminated, heaters de-energized and system vent valves to open. A loose fitting was found at the pressure relief valve on the vent line. A small volume of H2 was able to leak through the loose fitting and accumulate near the sensor, triggering the CO alarm.
Lessons Learned: Prior to initiation of any unit testing, system plumbing should be verified against the current Piping & Instrumentation Diagram. Leak testing and a system inspection should be conducted on the entire unit.
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