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21-09-2019 | Issue 3/2020

Fire Technology 3/2020

Risk Assessment of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles in Tunnels

Journal:
Fire Technology > Issue 3/2020
Authors:
Brian D. Ehrhart, Dusty M. Brooks, Alice B. Muna, Chris B. LaFleur
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Abstract

The need to understand the risks and implications of traffic incidents involving hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles in tunnels is increasing in importance with higher numbers of these vehicles being deployed. A risk analysis was performed to capture potential scenarios that could occur in the event of a crash and provide a quantitative calculation for the probability of each scenario occurring, with a qualitative categorization of possible consequences. The risk analysis was structured using an event sequence diagram with probability distributions on each event in the tree and random sampling was used to estimate resulting probability distributions for each end-state scenario. The most likely consequence of a crash is no additional hazard from the hydrogen fuel (98.1–99.9% probability) beyond the existing hazards in a vehicle crash, although some factors need additional data and study to validate. These scenarios include minor crashes with no release or ignition of hydrogen. When the hydrogen does ignite, it is most likely a jet flame from the pressure relief device release due to a hydrocarbon fire (0.03–1.8% probability). This work represents a detailed assessment of the state-of-knowledge of the likelihood associated with various vehicle crash scenarios. This is used in an event sequence framework with uncertainty propagation to estimate uncertainty around the probability of each scenario occurring.

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