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Defining Hazardous Zones – Electrical Classification Distances


This paper presents an analysis of computational fluid dynamic models of compressed hydrogen gas leaks into the air under different conditions to determine the volume of the hydrogen/air mixture and the extents of the lower flammable limit. The necessary hole size was calculated to determine a reasonably expected hydrogen leak rate from a valve or a fitting of 5 and 20 cfm under 400 bars, resulting in a 0.1 and 0.2 mm effective diameter hole respectively. The results were compared to calculated hypothetical volumes from IEC 60079-10 for the same mass flowrate and in most cases the CFD results produced significantly smaller hydrogen/air volumes than the IEC standard. Prescriptive electrical classification distances in existing standards for hydrogen and compressed natural gas were examined but they do not consider storage pressure and there appears to be no scientific basis for the distance determination. A proposed table of electrical classification distances incorporating hydrogen storage volume and pressure was produced based on the hydrogen LFL extents from a 0.2 mm diameter hole and the requirements of existing standards. The PHOENICS CFD software package was used to solve the continuity, momentum and concentration equations with the appropriate boundary conditions, buoyancy model and turbulence models. Numerical results on hydrogen concentration predictions were obtained in the real industrial environment, typical for a hydrogen refuelling or energy station.

Related subjects: Safety
Countries: Canada

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Defining Hazardous Zones – Electrical Classification Distances

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