Adam Ruggles (left) and Isaac Ekoto (right) pinpoint the ignition boundary from an unintended release of high-pressure hydrogen gas. Their research provides a scientific basis for establishing separation distances for hydrogen infrastructure. (Photo by Dino Vournas)

A principal challenge to deploying the hydrogen refueling infrastructure is the need to reduce risks to personnel and bystanders to an acceptable level—a task that requires quantifiable data on the safety envelope for hydrogen.

Looking to provide that data, Combustion Research Facilty researchers Isaac Ekoto (Hydrogen and Combustion Technology Dept.) and Adam Ruggles (Reacting Flow Research Dept.) are applying advanced laser-based diagnostics and imaging capabilities in the TCL. “Using hydrogen as a fuel presents some new storage challenges,” says Isaac. “To achieve sufficient energy density for transportation, hydrogen must be stored at extremely low temperatures or under very high pressure, so an unintended release will behave differently than gasoline.”

To ensure the controlled laboratory experiments preserve relevant flow physics expected from releases from compressed storage, Adam recently designed a high source pressure hydrogen jet and integrated it into the lab. The ability to study realistic release scenarios using state-of-the-art measurement tools distinguishes the TCL from similar labs around the world.

This work is already impacting codes governing hydrogen fuel cell use in warehouses. The researchers are working with several different codes and standards communities by performing targeted experiments to answer specific questions.

Read the article at the CRF website.