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Hydrogen vs. Batteries: Comparative Safety Assessments for a High-Speed Passenger Ferry


Batteries and hydrogen constitute two of the most promising solutions for decarbonising international shipping. This paper presents the comparison between a battery and a proton-exchange membrane hydrogen fuel cell version of a high-speed catamaran ferry with a main focus on safety. The systems required for each version are properly sized and fitted according to the applicable rules, and their impact on the overall design is discussed. Hazards for both designs were identified; frequency and consequence indexes for them were input qualitatively, following Novel Technology Qualification and SOLAS Alternative Designs and Arrangements, while certain risk control options were proposed in order to reduce the risks of the most concerned accidental events. The highest ranked risks were analysed by quantitative risk assessments in PyroSim software. The gas dispersion analysis performed for the hydrogen version indicated that it is crucial for the leakage in the fuel cell room to be stopped within 1 s after being detected to prevent the formation of explosive masses under full pipe rupture of 33 mm diameter, even with 120 air changes per hour. For the battery version, the smoke/fire simulation in the battery room indicated that the firefighting system could achieve a 30% reduction in fire duration, with firedoors closed and ventilation shut, compared to the scenario without a firefighting system.

Funding source: This research has been partially supported by the EC H2020 project TRAM with grant agreement 769303.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: United Kingdom

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