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Performance of Hydrogen Storage Tanks of Type IV in a Fire: Effect of the State of Charge


The use of hydrogen storage tanks at 100% of nominal working pressure (NWP) is expected only after refuelling. Driving between refuellings is characterised by the state of charge SoC <100%. There is experimental evidence that Type IV tanks tested in a fire at initial pressures below 1/3 NWP, leaked without rupture. This paper aims at understanding this phenomenon. The numerical research has demonstrated that the heat transfer from fire through the composite overwrap at storage pressures below NWP/3 is sufficient to melt the polymer liner. This melting initiates hydrogen microleaks through the composite before it loses the load-bearing ability. The fire-resistance rating (FRR) is defined as the time to rupture in a fire of a tank without or with blocked thermally activated pressure relief device. The dependence of a FRR on the SoC is demonstrated for the tanks with defined material properties and volumes in the range of 36–244 L. A composite wall thickness variation is shown to cause a safety issue by reducing the tank’s FRR and is suggested to be addressed by tank manufacturers and OEMs. The effect of a tank’s burst pressure ratio on the FRR is investigated. Thermal parameters of the composite wall, i.e., decomposition heat and temperatures, are shown in simulations of a tank failure in a fire to play an important role in its FRR.

Funding source: This research was funded by Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (FCH2 JU) through the SH2APED project. The SH2APED project has received funding from the FCH2 JU under grant agreement No. 101007182. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research.
Related subjects: Safety
Countries: United Kingdom

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