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CFD Thermo‑Hydraulic Evaluation of a Liquid Hydrogen Storage Tank with Different Insulation Thickness in a Small‑Scale Hydrogen Liquefier


Accurate evaluation of thermo‑fluid dynamic characteristics in tanks is critically important for designing liquid hydrogen tanks for small‑scale hydrogen liquefiers to minimize heat leakage into the liquid and ullage. Due to the high costs, most future liquid hydrogen storage tank designs will have to rely on predictive computational models for minimizing pressurization and heat leakage. Therefore, in this study, to improve the storage efficiency of a small‑scale hydrogen liquefier, a three‑ dimensional CFD model that can predict the boil‑off rate and the thermo‑fluid characteristics due to heat penetration has been developed. The prediction performance and accuracy of the CFD model was validated based on comparisons between its results and previous experimental data, and a good agreement was obtained. To evaluate the insulation performance of polyurethane foam with three different insulation thicknesses, the pressure changes and thermo‑fluid characteristics in a partially liquid hydrogen tank, subject to fixed ambient temperature and wind velocity, were investigated nu‑ merically. It was confirmed that the numerical simulation results well describe not only the temporal variations in the thermal gradient due to coupling between the buoyance and convection, but also the buoyancy‑driven turbulent flow characteristics inside liquid hydrogen storage tanks with differ‑ ent insulation thicknesses. In the future, the numerical model developed in this study will be used for optimizing the insulation systems of storage tanks for small‑scale hydrogen liquefiers, which is a cost‑effective and highly efficient approach.

Funding source: This work was supported by the Material and Parts Technology Development Project of the Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology, funded by the Korean government (Grant No. 20004900).
Countries: Korea, Republic of

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