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Hydrogen Related Fire Safety Issues in Residential/Commercial Vehicle Storage Facilities. John Baker Will Schreiber University of Alabama Department of Mechanical Engineering Tuscaloosa, AL. Objective.

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Hydrogen Related Fire Safety Issues in Residential/Commercial Vehicle Storage Facilities

John BakerWill Schreiber

University of AlabamaDepartment of Mechanical EngineeringTuscaloosa, AL


The overall purpose of the proposed project is to provide practical guidelines for the safe storage of commercially available hydrogen powered vehicles.

  • Safe systems for the industrial production, transportation, and utilization of hydrogen already exist.
  • Unresolved issuesexist with regardto the use of hydrogen in commercial/residential applications.

Linde AG, Germany

  • Hydrogen
  • Wide range of flammability concentrations in air
  • Lower ignition energy as compared to gasoline or natural gas
  • Burns with almost invisible flame
  • Much lighter than air
  • Hydrogen embrittlement
  • Molecular diffusion
  • Leakage
  • Regulations
  • NASA, 1997, Safety Standard for Hydrogen and Hydrogen Systems, NSS 1740.16.
  • U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Regulations (Standard - 29 CFR), Standard Number 1910.103, Hydrogen.
  • NFPA 50B: Standard for LiquefiedHydrogen Systems at ConsumerSites
  • NFPA 50A: Gaseous HydrogenSystems at Consumer Sites
  • Residential Hydrogen Safety
  • Environmental factors
  • Dispersion of hydrogen from likely release sites
  • Potential ignition sources
  • Impact on residentialdesign
Plan of Action
  • Proposed one-year study
  • Thoroughly examine existing regulations
  • Experimentally observe hydrogen dispersion behavior in typical settings
  • Develop preliminary hydrogen dispersion models.
Plan of Action: First Quarter
  • Task 1a – Review of Existing Standards
    • Review of the existing standards and guidelines as related to commercial / residential hydrogen use and storage.
  • Task 1b – Experimental Design
    • Design of a test cell that can simulate the transport behavior of a hydrogen leak in a residential two car garage.
  • Task 1c – Initial Computational Models
    • Preliminary CFD models to be used in the development of the helium dispersion experiments.
Plan of Action: Second Quarter
  • Task 2a –Hydrogen Sensors
    • A thorough review of existing hydrogen sensor technology.
  • Task 2b –Experimental Study
    • Helium dispersion behavior in on-campus parking garage.
  • Task 2c – Computational Modeling
    • Model helium dispersion behavior in parking garage.
Plan of Action: Third Quarter
  • Task 3a – Analysis of Helium Dispersion Testing
    • Determine average dispersion patterns. May need to conduct additional tests.
  • Task 3b – Fabrication
    • Build two car garage test facility. Instrument facility.
  • Task 3c – Computational Modeling
    • Develop initial hydrogen dispersion models to aid hydrogen dispersion experimental test plan.
Plan of Action: Fourth Quarter
  • Task 4a – Hydrogen Dispersion Testing – Two Car Garage
    • Conduct experiments and perform preliminary analysis of hydrogen dispersion data.
  • Task 4c – Analysis of Data/Recommendations
    • Using information gained during the course of the study, make preliminary recommendations regarding guidelines/regulations for storage of hydrogen vehicles.
  • Task 4d – Identification of Future Effort
    • Develop plan for continued examination of hydrogen safety in residential/commercial applications.
  • Combustion and Propulsion Systems Laboratory
    • Combustion (holographic interferometer, PIV, FTIR spectrometer, high speed video, data acquisitions systems, reduced gravity test cell, etc.)
    • Computational modelingsoftware (Fluent, CEA)
    • Codes developed in-house for thermodynamic equilibrium analysis
  • Existing regulations do not adequately address the hazards associated with the storage of hydrogen powered vehicles for residential/commercial applications.
  • A study is proposed to examine hydrogen safety as it relates to the residential/commercial use of hydrogen vehicles.
  • The proposed study will lay the groundwork for the development of practical guidelines/regulations needed for the safe storage of hydrogen powered vehicles.
Contact Information

Dr. John Baker

Ph: (205) 348-4997

E-mail: [email protected]

Dr. Will Schreiber

Ph: (205) 348-1650

E-mail: [email protected]