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Hydrogen Releases Ignited in a Simulated Vehicle Refuelling Environment


If the general public is to use hydrogen as a vehicle fuel, customers must be able to handle hydrogen with the same degree of confidence, and with comparable risk, as conventional liquid and gaseous fuels. The hazards associated with jet releases from leaks in a vehicle-refuelling environment must be considered if hydrogen is stored and used as a high-pressure gas since a jet release in a confined or congested area could result in an explosion. As there was insufficient knowledge of the explosion hazards, a study was initiated to gain a better understanding of the potential explosion hazard consequences associated with high-pressure leaks from refuelling systems. This paper describes two experiments with a dummy vehicle and dispenser units to represent refuelling station congestion. The first represents a ‘worst-case’ scenario where the vehicle and dispensers are enveloped by a 5.4 m x 6.0 m x 2.5 m high, pre-mixed, hydrogen-air cloud. The second is an actual high-pressure leak from storage at 40 MPa (400 bar), representing an uncontrolled, full-bore, failure of a vehicle refuelling hose. In both cases an electric spark ignited the flammable cloud. Measurements were made of the explosion overpressure generated, its evolution with time, and its decay with distance. The results reported provide a direct demonstration of the explosion hazard from an uncontrolled leak; they will also be valuable for validating explosion models that will be needed to assess configurations and conditions beyond those studied experimentally.

Related subjects: Safety
Countries: United Kingdom

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Hydrogen Releases Ignited in a Simulated Vehicle Refuelling Environment

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