HSB: Inspection and Engineering Firm Looks to Hydrogen Opportunity.

“When HSB provides technical services to our clients, they can trust we will act ethically and with integrity, ensuring a high level of trust in the services and guidance we provide.”

A well-known inspection and engineering firm is looking to tap into the growing hydrogen sector with a broad array of engineering and inspection solutions.

The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB) is “focused on growing our customer base while adapting to the changing market with a focus on renewables,” says Catherine Coseno, vice president of global sales and services at HSB Global Inspection and Engineering Services.

“Our goal is to continue as an industry leader delivering high value and quality service as we navigate through a challenging and ever evolving market,” she says. “The hydrogen space has the potential to transition from demonstration volume to significant user volume.”

HSB, part of reinsurance giant Munich Re, is well placed to play a key role in hydrogen’s expansion after building a leading reputation based on another industrial gas—steam. In 1865, a riverboat called the Sultana, overloaded with freed Union prisoners of war, sank after its steam boilers exploded.

The incident killed approximately 1,800 of the 2,400 passengers aboard the vessel, many of whom were from Andersonville and other Confederate prison camps.

The tragedy, one of the worst maritime disasters in US history, inspired members of the Hartford-based Polytechnic Club, formed shortly before the war, to reunite and found HSB the following year.

The Club’s members included Francis Pratt and Amos Whitney, the founders of Pratt & Whitney, and Elisha Root, president of Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Co., as well as Jeremiah Allen, founder and first president of HSB.

It was founded to seek answers to pressing technical issues and steam boilers were of particular interest because they were core to the Industrial Revolution. They also exploded at a rate of one every four days, causing death, severe injury and destruction of property.

“The story of the Sultana is rooted in the very core of our company’s history and each year we humbly remember the loss of life and how it shaped our future,” says Coseno.

“Our company has now evolved through three industrial revolutions: steam, electricity and information technology and software. We were the first company in the US founded on the basis of safety when that was the most pressing industrial issue of its time.”

Today, HSB has grown to be a worldwide leader in the interpretation and application of boiler and pressure vessel codes, standards, directives and customer specifications.

“We offer a wide range of inspection services for owners and fabricators of boilers, pressure equipment, nuclear components and process and power plants,” Coseno says.

“With more than 400 inspectors worldwide and offices strategically located around the world, we are able to offer local representation and jurisdictional experience providing virtually every aspect of pressure equipment inspection and certification globally.”

HSB’s engineering and inspection services include hydrogen solutions, third-party inspection, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) certification, notified and approved body services, conformity with international codes, and ISO 9001, 14001 and 45001.

The company also provides transportation services, project management and technical training. “Clients know when they work with HSB that we are highly proficient in codes and standards from around the world,” Coseno says.

“We also provide the most qualified and experienced inspectors in the industry, committed to the highest ethical standards. When HSB provides technical services to our clients, they can trust we will act ethically and with integrity, ensuring a high level of trust in the services and guidance we provide.”

HSB’s people, technical knowledge and reputation, built over 150 years, stand the company in good stead to deliver inspections for safety and assurance of pressure vessels, which have many applications and will likely be critical to hydrogen transport and storage.

“We continue to see the need with industry leaders for the critical feedback loop of independent inspection to confirm pressure equipment is both built correctly and designed with appropriate safety factors,” says Coseno.



“These types of services benefit the equipment manufacturers’ delivery of high-quality equipment and help the end user better manage delivery disruptions or unplanned start-up problems. We see a lot of interest in new designs to handle applications related to energy efficiency and renewable energy.”

Specifically for hydrogen, HSB’s services include supply chain expediting, conformity assessment, quality assurance, vendor qualification and surveillance, risk mitigation and design verification.

“Hydrogen brings new applications [and] designs to pressure equipment and storage equipment, all of which lead to modified performance and safety requirements,” Coseno notes. “We are competitively positioned with a suite of hydrogen solutions to strategically serve growing market demands.”

Usefully for a sector growing worldwide, she says HSB Global Inspection and Engineering Services “has a global presence with local insights, enabling us to support complex multi-country production while understanding the local market dynamics, customer preferences and regulatory requirements.

“Our global teams are connected by innovation and technology, effectively and efficiently serving our customers’ needs with integrity. Right now, we see opportunities everywhere in almost all countries across the globe.”

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