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SRI To Present Hydrogen Fuel Safety Research Results

September 13, 2009

SRI International, an independent nonprofit research and development organization, announced today it will present new research identifying methods for designing safer structures in the future for hydrogen fueled vehicles, at the upcoming International Conference on Hydrogen Safety, Sept. 16 – 18, in Ajaccio”“Corsica, France. The paper, titled Experimental Study of Hydrogen Release Accidents in a Vehicle Garage, was authored by SRI researchers, with funding from the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) through the Institute of Applied Energy (IAE), both based in Japan. SRI conducted experiments to determine the risks associated with accidental hydrogen releases and subsequent combustion in a structure built to simulate a one-car garage. SRI’s research highlights important insights that will help consumers use hydrogen safely on a daily basis.

“We are starting to see an increase in the use of hydrogen as a clean energy storage medium in many applications, including fuel cell vehicles and stationary power generation. For these applications it is important to investigate the hazards that can occur when hydrogen is released and develop approaches for mitigating the risk in these scenarios,” said Erik Merilo, SRI research engineer. “Hydrogen has been used safely for many years in different industries, and SRI is working with industry and government officials to provide the data necessary to ensure that hydrogen can be used safely by the general public.”

SRI’s work on hydrogen dispersion and deflagration was recently presented to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The data will be used for evaluating the risk associated with accidental hydrogen leaks in residential-type garages and for development of mitigation techniques, such as ventilation.

SRI has many years of experience in hydrogen safety research, and has performed large-scale tests to obtain fundamental hydrogen combustion data and investigate potential accident scenarios involving fuel-cell vehicles, transports, products and storage facilities. The data has been used to develop codes and standards, validate numerical models, and investigate risk mitigation approaches. In all tests, SRI measured the characteristics of the deflagration and detonation, as well as the potential hazard produced.

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