Program Lead for Hydrogen Safety, Codes and Standards, Sandia National Laboratories
2017 Government Award Winner
As the Program Lead for Hydrogen Safety, Codes and Standards at Sandia National Laboratories, Chris LaFleur is responsible for fire risk program activities. Her main research involves evaluating fire risks for emerging energy technologies, with her recent work focused on characterizing the risks from traffic incidents involving hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in tunnels for several metropolitan areas on the east coast. This work also includes evaluating the impacts of hydrogen jet flames on steel and concrete structural members. She has also led risk characterization efforts for maintenance facility modifications to allow natural gas- and hydrogen- powered vehicles to be repaired indoors. Additional studies include failure mode analysis for liquefied natural gas-fueled locomotives and other heavy fleet vehicles. These analyses enable the safe implementation of cleaner transportation fuels to reduce U.S. reliance on fossil fuels and increase the availability of renewable energy solutions. She has represented the United States in developing hydrogen codes and standards for maritime applications and has authored peer-reviewed papers on performance-based designs for hydrogen fuel stations. Before joining Sandia National Laboratories, she worked at General Motors, where she managed corporate fire protection standards and was responsible for property insurance and enterprise risk management. She began her career as an environmental engineer for Parsons Engineering Science. She is a licensed professional engineer and serves as a principal member of the sprinkler discharge criteria committee of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, and NFPA 2, Hydrogen Technologies Code. She also serves on the U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Safety Panel. She earned a BS in Geology and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester, an MS in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland, and a Doctorate of Engineering in Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Michigan.