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Risk Assessment on Life Safety and Financial Loss for Road Accident of Fuel Cell Vehicles


Vehicular use of hydrogen is the first attempt to apply hydrogen energy in consumers’ environment in large scale and has raised safety concerns in both public authorities and private bodies such as fire services and insurance companies. This paper analyzes typical accident progressions of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in a road collision accident. Major hydrogen consequences including impinging jet fires and catastrophic tank ruptures are evaluated separately in terms of accident duration and hazard distances. Results show that in a 70 MPa fuel cell car accident, the hazards associated with hydrogen releases would normally last for no more than 1.5 min due to the empty of the tank. For the safety of general public, a perimeter of 100 m is suggested in the accident scene if no hissing sound is heard. However, the perimeter can be reduced to 10 m once the hissing sound of hydrogen release is heard. Furthermore, risks of fatalities, injuries, and damages are all quantified in financial terms to assess the impacts of the accident. Results show that costs of fatalities and injuries contribute most to the overall financial loss, indicating that the insurance premium of fatalities and injuries should be set higher than that of property loss.

Related subjects: Safety

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