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Safety Design and Engineering Solution of Fuel Cell Powered Ship in Inland Waterway of China


From the perspective of risk control, when hydrogen fuel and fuel cells are used on ships, there is a possibility of low-flash fuel leakage, leading to the risk of explosion. Since the fuel cell space (cabin for fuel cell installations) is an enclosed space, any small amount of leakage must be handled properly. In ship design, area classification is a method of analyzing and classifying the areas where explosive gas atmospheres may occur. If the fuel cell space is regarded as a hazardous area, all the electrical devices inside it must be explosion-proof type, which will make the ship’s design very difficult. This paper takes a Chinese fuel cell powered ship as an example to analyze its safety. Firstly, the leakage rates of fuel cell modules, valves, and connectors are calculated. Secondly, the IEC60079-10-1 algorithm is used to calculate the risk level of the fuel cell space. Finally, the ship and fuel cells are optimized and redesigned, and the risk level of the fuel cell space is recalculated and compared. The result shows that the optimized fuel space risk level could be reduced to the level of the non-hazardous zone.

Funding source: This research was funded by the ‘Key Technology Research on Hydrogen Fuel Powered Ships’ of High-tech Ship Research Project from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People’s Republic of China (project ID MC-202023-C11).
Related subjects: Safety

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