English / Greek

Home Page | News | Projects | Publications | Personnel | ADREA_HF users forum
Path: Home Page > Publications

Venetsanos et al. (2007)

Hydrogen Safety

Venetsanos A.G., Baraldi D., Adams P., Heggem P.S.,Wilkening H. (2007), CFD Modelling of Hydrogen Release, Dispersion and Combustion for Automotive Scenarios, Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, in press


The paper describes the analysis of the potential effects of releases from compressed gaseous hydrogen systems on commercial vehicles in urban and tunnel environments using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Comparative releases from compressed natural gas systems are also included in the analysis.

This study is restricted to typical non-articulated single deck city buses. Hydrogen releases are considered from storage systems with nominal working pressures of 20, 35 and 70MPa, and a comparative natural gas release (20MPa). The cases investigated are based on the assumptions that either fire causes a release via a thermally activated pressure relief device(s) (PRD) and that the released gas vents without immediately igniting, or that a PRD fails. Various release strategies were taken into account. For each configuration some worst case scenarios are considered.

By far the most critical case investigated in the urban environment, is a rapid release of the entire hydrogen or natural gas storage system such as the simultaneous opening of all PRDs. If ignition occurs, the effects could be expected to be similar to the 1983 Stockholm hydrogen accident (Venetsanos, Huld, Adams & Bartzis (2003)). In the cases where the hydrogen release is restricted, for example, by venting through a single PRD, the effects are relatively minor and localised close to the area of the flammable cloud. With increasing hydrogen storage pressure, the maximum energy available in a flammable cloud after a release increases, as do the predicted overpressures resulting from combustion. Even in the relatively confined environment considered, the effects on the combustion regime are closer to what would be expected in a more open environment, i.e. a slow deflagration should be expected.

Among the cases studied the most severe one was a rapid release of the entire hydrogen (40 kg) or natural gas (168 kg) storage system within the confines of a tunnel. In this case there was minimal difference between a release from a 20 MPa natural gas system or a 20 MPa hydrogen system, however, a similar release from a 35 MPa hydrogen system was significantly more severe and particularly in terms of predicted overpressures. The present study has also highlighted that the ignition point significantly affects the combustion regime in confined environments. The results have indicated that critical cases in tunnels may tend towards a fast deflagration, or where there are turbulence generating features, e.g. multiple obstacles, there is the possibility that the combustion regime could progress to a detonation.

When comparing the urban and tunnel environments, a similar release of hydrogen is significantly more severe in a tunnel, and the energy available in the flammable cloud is greater and remains for a longer period in tunnels. When comparing hydrogen and natural gas releases, for the cases and environments investigated and within the limits of the assumptions, it appears that hydrogen requires different mitigation measures in order that the potential effects are similar to those of natural gas in case of an accident. With respect to a PRD opening strategy, hydrogen storage systems should be designed to avoid simultaneous opening of all PRD, and that for the consequences of the released energy to be mitigated, either the number of PRDs opening should be limited or their vents to atmosphere should be restricted (the latter point would require validation by a comprehensive risk assessment).


Latest News


4rth International Conference on Hydrogen Safety, 12-14 September 2011, San Francisco, USA

Read More »

Log In To This Site

Advanced »