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A CFD Analysis of Liquefied Gas Vessel Explosions


Hydrogen is one of the most suitable candidates in replacing fossil fuels. However, storage issues due to its very low density under ambient conditions are encountered in many applications. The liquefaction process can overcome such issues by increasing hydrogen’s density and thus enhancing its storage capacity. A boiling liquid expanding vapour explosion (BLEVE) is a phenomenon in liquefied gas storage systems. It is a physical explosion that might occur after the catastrophic rupture of a vessel containing a liquid with a temperature above its boiling point at atmospheric pressure. Even though it is an atypical accident scenario (low probability), it should be always considered due to its high yield consequences. For all the above-mentioned reasons, the BLEVE phenomenon for liquid hydrogen (LH2) vessels was studied using the CFD methodology. Firstly, the CFD model was validated against a well-documented CO2 BLEVE experiment. Secondly, hydrogen BLEVE cases were simulated based on tests that were conducted in the 1990s on LH2 tanks designed for automotive purposes. The parametric CFD analysis examined different filling degrees, initial pressures and temperatures of the tank content with the aim of comprehending to what extent the initial conditions influence the blast wave. Good agreement was shown between the simulation outcomes and the LH2 bursting scenario tests results.

Funding source: This work was undertaken as part of the research project Safe Hydrogen fuel handling and Use for Efficient Implementation (SH2IFT), and the authors would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Research Council of Norway under the ENERGIX programme (Grant No. 280964). Furthermore, the research leading to these results was financially supported by the PRESLHY project, which has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 779613. 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: Greece ; Italy ; Norway

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