Title: CFD Modelling of Hydrogen Release, Dispersion and Combustion for Automotive Scenarios
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC33389
ISSN: 0950-4230
URI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jlp.2007.06.016
DOI: 10.1016/j.jlp.2007.06.016
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: 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 70 MPa, and a comparative natural gas release (20 MPa). 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 worstcase 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, A. G., Huld, T., Adams, P., & Bartzis, J. G. (2003). Source, dispersion and combustion modelling of an accidental release of hydrogen in an urban environment. Journal of Hazardous Materials, A105, 1¿25]. 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 20MPa natural gas system or a 20MPa hydrogen system, however, a similar release from a 35MPa 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.
JRC Directorate:Energy, Transport and Climate

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