Cover Image

Not for Sale



View/Hide Left Panel
Click for next page ( 60


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 59
60 TABLE 14 EFFECT OF LEAKAGE DIAMETER AND DRAINAGE RATE ON THE FIRE SIZE OF FUEL TANKERS Equivalent Calorific Power [MW (MBtu/hr)] Diameter Leakage Mass Drainage Mass Flow of Fuel of Leakage Flow of Fuel 0 kg/s 1 kg/s 2 kg/s 5 kg/s [mm (in.)] [kg/s (lb/s)] (0 lb/s) (2.2 lb/s) (4.4 lb/s) (11 lb/s) 15 (0.6) 0.5 (1.1 lb/s) 22 (75) -- -- -- 35 (1.4) 2.7 (6 lb/s) 120 (409.5) 76 (259) 33 (113) -- 50 (1.9) 5.6 (12.3 lb/s) 245 (836) 201 (686) 158 (539) 27 (92) Source: PIARC (21). multiple HGV or bus accidents. Fire HRR, especially for vans section explores the emerging issues of alternative fuel and heavy goods trucks, depend on the size of cargo load, vehicles on design fires. which is usually unknown. A risk analysis for the Oresund Tunnel (43) considers the Natural Gas and Liquid Gas Vehicles possibility of fuel leakage from holes of 15, 35, and 50 mm CNG and compressed biogas are primarily composed of (0.6, 1.4, and 1.9 in.) equivalent diameter. These represent methane, which is a gas lighter than air. Biogas can be clas- the potential failure of small diameter fuel lines or a small sified as a renewable natural gas. CNG is the more widely amount of damage to a delivery hose flange. They do not rep- used of the two. CNG is usually stored in a fuel tank at a pres- resent the complete destruction of a delivery hose that would sure of 200 to 250 bar (2900 to 3625 psi). The use of CNG is give a hole diameter of 100 mm (3.9 in.). The leakage flow depends on the diameter of the hole and the fluid pressure at increasing around the world and in 2008 there were more the hole. For the holes considered, the mass flows are 0.5, than 9 million CNG vehicles and 13,000 refueling stations 2.7, and 5.6 kg/s (1.1, 6, and 12.3 lb/s), respectively. worldwide. The drainage capacity of the drainage outlets is normally The situation with a CNG engine is more complicated 10 times greater. However, it was assumed that in an accident because the exhaust gas temperature from the CNG engine is this could obstruct and limit the amount of drainage. The much higher (750C or 1382F) than from the diesel engine calculations for the different fire scenarios gave calorific (450C or 842F). Additional measures can be considered power outputs of between 22 MW (75 MBtu/hr) and 245 MW to reduce the risk of fire: (836 MBtu/hr). Reduce the high exhaust temperature in the engine Fire duration can be determined by the amount of available compartment by installing a water-cooled system. The combustible material. The amount of fuel is different for each exhaust system must be made of noncorrosive special study based on the type of vehicles, loads, and traffic patterns. steel with no leaks. Tables 15 and 16 present several examples on design fire Check the exhaust gas system for leaks and insulate as scenarios in the Netherlands and France. needed. Provide a means of ventilation (additional louvers) in the engine compartment for heat dissipation. EXPLORING THE EMERGING ISSUES OF Facilitate the removal of oil-contained contamination in ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES ON DESIGN FIRES the engine and gear compartments. Install fire alarm sensors on busses. Environmental issues such as climate change and scarcity of resources have stimulated the development of new energy carriers for vehicles. This also means that there will Hydrogen be an increase in the number of vehicles running on these new energy carriers in tunnels and other confined spaces. Hydrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, nontoxic, non- New energy carriers do not necessarily imply higher risks; corrosive gas approximately 14 times lighter than air. Much however, they do represent a new situation with inherent research and development is currently focused on hydrogen new risks, and such risks need to be considered and evaluated. and its feasibility as a vehicle fuel; however, in most cases The mixture of different energy carriers, such as flammable only demonstration models are available (46). Hydrogen can liquids, gases lighter than air, gases denser than air, batteries, be used either for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and so forth, can also constitute a risk itself, because there or fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). It is expected that after 2015, are situations where different safety measures need to be fuel cells will be more common. There are several hydrogen implemented depending on the energy carrier used and vehicle projects currently being tested. There is a Network of the scenario in question. Some countries have restrictions Excellence called HySafe, which aims to safely introduce on the use of some energy carriers in confined spaces. This hydrogen technologies and applications. This network has

OCR for page 59
61 TABLE 15 DUTCH FIRE SCENARIOS FOR TUNNELS WITH LONGITUDINAL VENTILATION IN RELATION TO HEAT RELEASE RATES Heat Release Rate (MW) Size [MBtu/hr] Scenario Remarks Small 6.1 [20.8] - A passenger car is completely burnt -- - Estimated duration of the fire: 25 min - Smoke temperature less than 150C (302F) at a few meters from the source of the fire - Ventilation speed 1.5 m/s (295 fpm) - Jet fans will only be impaired if they are right above the fire - Fire fighting is possible from within a few meters of the source of the fire - Limited damage to the tunnel interior - Limited amount of soot Medium 100 [341] - A heavy goods vehicle loaded with wood is completely burnt Scenario - The temperature of the fumes is about 800C (1472F) at a applicable distance of 50 m (164 ft) from the source to Dutch tunnels - Ventilation speed 1.5 m/s (295 fpm) in urban areas or - Fire fighting is possible at a distance of 10 to 20 m (33 to 66 on secondary ft) from the source of the fire when protective clothing is worn roads where the - Damage to the tunnel interior, soot formation transport of - Breakdown of jet fans at a distance of 150 to 300 m (492 to dangerous goods 984 ft) downstream of the fire is expected is forbidden Large 300 - A tanker loaded with 50 m of gasoline is completely burnt Criterion [1,024] - Estimated duration of the fire: 2 h for tunnels that - Fire fighting is possible at a distance of from 10 to 20 m (33 to are opened to 66 ft) from the source when the ventilation speed is increased the transport of to 3 m/s (591 fpm) and protective clothing is worn dangerous - Use of water/foam should be considered goods (such as - The temperature of the smoke will be about 1400C (2552F) propane or other at a distance of about 20 m downstream of the fire toxic - All jet fans will be damaged over a distance of 300 to 500 m substances) (984 to 1,640 ft) downstream of the fire - Considerable damage to the interior of the tunnel over a large distance downstream of the fire; distance is increased when the ventilation speed is increased Source: Fire in Tunnels (9). TABLE 16 FRENCH DESIGN FIRES WITH COMPLEMENTARY DATA FOR CFD CALCULATIONS Clearance of the Tunnel Height Height Height >3.5 m >3.5 m Height 2.7 m to 3.5 m (11.5 ft) (11.5 ft) <2.7 m (8.9 ft to (no dangerous (dangerous Parameter (8.9 ft) 11.5 ft) goods allowed) goods allowed) Typical Fire 23 cars 1 van 1 HGV 1 fuel tanker Heat Release Rate 8 [27] 15 [51] 30 [102] 200 [682] (MW) [MBtu/hr] Smoke Flow Rate 30 [1,059] 50 [1,766] 80 [2,825] 3001 [10,594] (m3/s) [ft3/s] Growth Time tg 5 5 10 10 (min) Peak Duration tmax 20 30 60 60 (min) Decline Time td 20 20 30 30 (min) Released Energy 15 [14.2] 40 [37.9] 150 [142.1] 1000 [947.2] (GJ) [MBtu] Source: Fire in Tunnels (9). 1 In France, this smoke flow rate is generally not taken into account for the design of semi-transverse ventilation, even if the transport of dangerous goods is allowed.

OCR for page 59
62 led to a number of projects, including HyTunnel and InsHyde. circuit or an overcharge, and could result in a fire. The other The goal of HyTunnel is to develop codes, standards, and is that the battery is exposed to an external risk, either some regulations so that additional risks from the introduction of mechanical force or a thermal attack, as with a fire. There hydrogen vehicles into tunnels can be handled safely. During have been instances of batteries exploding or releasing jet the test period, no major safety-related incidents occurred to fires. There are some who believe that electric cars have been the fuel cell buses. However, for the ICE buses there was one responsible for the larger number of fires when compared unexpected release of hydrogen when a check valve within with nonelectric cars. This type of fire can also emit toxic fumes the tank nozzle failed. from hydrogen fluoride and oxides of carbon, aluminum, lithium, copper, and cobalt. The lithium salts used in the The results indicated that owing to the nature of flame electrolyte contain fluorine or a chlorine compound, where and fire development, tunnels with greater slopes and with hydrogen fluoride or hydrogen chloride can be produced horseshoe cross sections (compared with equivalent rectan- during a fire. gular cross sections) present lower hazards. In InsHyde, many different aspects of hydrogen safety in confined spaces are There are some restrictions and regulations concerning the evaluated and discussed, such as regulations, detection, use of alternative energy carriers, especially for compressed ventilation, fire, and explosion. Both computer modeling and or liquefied gases. In relation to underground constructions, experiments were performed to study different parameters most restrictions concern underground garages; however, and effects. In that study, it was determined that among some also specifically address tunnels. Many of the restric- hydrogen incidents the ignition source could not be identified tions can be related to LPG, which is also considered to be an in 86% of the cases and was probably caused by spontaneous alternative fuel, together with liquefied natural gas (LNG), ignition. However, in another research project, Wu (47) CNG, hydrogen, propane, methanol, ethanol, and biodiesel, showed that conditions of oxygen deficit could be reached for in accordance with the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005. LPG a higher release rate of hydrogen. This can lead to higher vehicles run on liquefied gas, which is denser than air. temperature ceiling flows and damage to tunnel structures. For hydrogen buses with internal combustion engines, these The following are examples of tunnels where LPG and impacts also apply, and the installation of hydrogen sensors CNG are restricted (see Table 17): is advisable. In Maryland, LPG is forbidden in the Baltimore Harbor and Fort McHenry tunnels. Batteries LPG is forbidden in the Summer, Callahan, Prudential, and Dewey Square tunnels in Massachusetts. Electric cars that use batteries as an energy source are seen LPG is forbidden in the Holland, Lincoln, Brooklyn as the single most promising future energy carrier, in partic- Battery, and Queens Midtown tunnels in New York and ular, for city traffic. One problem is the relatively short avail- New Jersey. able driving distance before recharging is needed. Therefore, In Virginia, an LPG ban covers the Chesapeake Bay hybrid solutions are currently of greatest interest. In most Bridge tunnel. cases a hybrid vehicle has both a conventional internal com- In Italy, vehicles using LPG or gas are labeled before bustion engine and an electric motor. There are also plug-in entering the Mont Blanc Tunnel or the Frejus Tunnel. electric vehicles, with batteries that can be plugged in for In France and the United Kingdom vehicles running on charging, such as to house electricity, in addition to being gas are prohibited in the Euro Tunnel. charged while running. In Austria, LPG and CNG are not permitted in the Tauern Tunnel. Presently, nickel-metal-hydride batteries are the most common used batteries in hybrid vehicles. These batteries are However, there are no restrictions on LPG vehicles in tunnels robust, but have a relatively high self-discharge rate. Therefore, in Japan and many other countries. for a variety of reasons, most interest is currently directed to lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries have a high energy Some examples of LPG fire incidents include: density and a high cell voltage. In addition, the maintenance need is low and there are no memory effects. However, to A car crash in a highway tunnel near Palermo, Italy, limit the peak voltage during charging for safe operation, a occurred on March 18, 1996. The accident involved a protection circuit is built into each battery pack. This also tank truck transporting LPG, which caused propane to limits the discharge current. Other safety features are also be released, which formed a burning gas cloud resulting studied for lithium-ion batteries. in critical burns to 25 people. The subsequent boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion (BLEVE) led to Two main types of risks can occur with vehicle batteries. five fatalities. The cause of the accident was not strictly One is that the battery (system) itself is the cause of the incident, the result of a new energy carrier, but it did involve a such as with an electrical fault, which can be caused by a short vehicle transporting fuel for a new energy carrier.

OCR for page 59
63 TABLE 17 SUMMARY OF KNOWN INCIDENTS INVOLVING CARS RUNNING ON LPG OR NEW ENERGY CARRIERS (NOT ALL IN TUNNELS) Type of No. of Date Place Premises vehicles Fuel Ignition Consequences Jan. 31, 1999 Venissieux, 1 LPG Arson Explosion; France 6 fire fighters severely injured Sep. 2002 U.S. 1 CNG Car fire Rupture of gas cylinder Nov. 9, 2002 Seine-et- Garage 1 LPG Unknown Explosion; Marne, building of origin France collapsed; in total 39 buildings affected Aug. 28, 2005 Firenze, San Donato LPG Engine Dense smoke Italy tunnel fire June 2006 Collatino, Parked on 1 LPG Arson Explosion, Italy the street several cars, 2 garages, shops, fire spread to apartments March 2007 Seattle, WA Row of 12 One with Arson 12 cars damaged U.S. parked CNG or destroyed; vehicles CNG tank exploded when fire fighters were approaching; debris approx. 30 m away May 2007 Carson, Refueling 1 CNG Driver killed CA, U.S. Dec. 16, 2007 Salerno, Underground LPG Leakage Explosion; Italy garage of gas one 3-storey from building totally vehicle destroyed; 5 other buildings affected June 7, 2008 U.S. Running on 1 Hybrid Short One burned- the highway converted circuit out car to plug-in Sept. 19, Rovigno, Underground LPG Fire spread to 2008 Italy garage neighboring garage and threatened the building Oct. 2008 South Running on 1 LPG Lighting Explosion, Yorkshire, the road of burns, broken U.K. cigarette windows Nov. 8, 2008 Mallaca, Filling 1 LPG Explosion of Malaysia station vehicle; passengers severely injured Dec. 28, 2008 Sampford Running on 1 LPG Unknown One burned- Peverell, the highway out car U.K. Oct. 28, 2009 Marigliano, Parking 6 One with The cause Large explosion Italy LPG of the damaged initial fire vehicles and unknown buildings Source: Lnnermark (48).

OCR for page 59
64 On the night of January 31, 1999, a vehicle fuelled with Owing to the increase in pressure, the windows broke LPG was set on fire by an arsonist in Vennissieux out- and the bonnet and the trunk blew opened. The driver side Lyon, France. The LPG system was not equipped suffered minor burns to the face and body, but the seat with a safety valve. This led to an increase in pressure absorbed most of the energy of the explosion, saving his in the tank during the fire and the tank later exploded. life. The most likely explanation for the explosion was Six firemen attempting to extinguish the fire were a leak in the tube between the filling valve and the tank. severely injured. This incident led to action that could The car, which had been purchased second-hand three help avoid this kind of incident in the future. Later, a weeks earlier, had been checked and approved twice at requirement that such vehicles have safety valves was workshops. introduced. The most recent reported incident occurred on October On November 9, 2002, a vehicle fuelled with LPG began 28, 2009, in Marigliano, Italy. A fire started in a parked to leak in a garage in Seineet-Marne in France. The high car running on a traditional fuel. It developed quickly and density of the gas allowed it to spread over a large area spread to nearby vehicles. Six cars were ultimately and down into the basement. At 11 p.m. the gas ignited, involved, including one using LPG, which quickly an explosion occurred, and the building collapsed, exploded after catching on fire. The explosion damaged burying several individuals, who were later saved. In cars in the vicinity and a nearby building. Debris from total, the explosion affected 39 buildings within a radius the exploded car was found on the balcony of that build- of 200 m. The roof of the LPG vehicle was found 150 m ing and windows were broken up to the eighth floor. from the place where the vehicle had been parked. Stores at street level sustained severe damage. In June 2006, arsonists ignited an LPG-fuelled vehicle in Collatino, Italy. The car was parked with other vehicles In addition to these car fires, some conclusions can be on a street outside an apartment building. The fire started drawn from various bus fires. Three bus fires involving CNG in the rear part of the vehicle, where the LPG tank was tanks are analyzed here. The first responders were unable to positioned. The subsequent explosion of the tank led to extinguish these fires. The first conclusion was that the pressure an intense fire, which ignited several other cars. The relief devices (PRDs) do not always release. This can happen pressure wave destroyed two small garages and shops when there is local thermal exposure, such as from an imping- located in the apartment building. The fire damaged the ing jet flame, which leads to insufficient heat for the PRD, or faade and several balconies. it could be a malfunctioning heat release device. Either way In March 2007, an arsonist set fire to a row of vehicles it is important to minimize or eliminate areas with weaker parked under a highway bridge in Seattle. The first fire protection, such as sun roofs, which could lead to such responders were not aware that one of the cars was localized fire exposure. Another important issue is the time CNG-fuelled. When they were 15 to 20 m (49.2 to 65.6 ft) necessary to completely empty the tank. In the incidents from the burning vehicles the CNG tank exploded. The described, it would be preferable to have early PRD opening fuel tank and other large pieces of debris landed about and fast emptying of the tank, although the situation could 30 m (98.4 ft) from the CNG vehicle. The fuel tank was be completely different if the buses had been located in equipped with a safety valve, but exploded before the a confined environment such as a tunnel or underground valve could release the pressure. garage. One main conclusion is that the safety of these types of In May 2007, a CNG tank in a vehicle in Carson, Cali- vehicles does not rely only on component tests. For example, fornia, ruptured. The rupture occurred during refueling it is important to test the entire system, where the tanks and and killed the driver. A day earlier, the driver had col- other components can be evaluated using relevant and realistic lected the vehicle from a repair shop after a collision scenarios. three weeks prior. In June 2008, a fire in a hybrid car converted to a plug-in The incidents summarized and described earlier are not started while the car was running. The car used a lithium- meant to imply that all vehicles running on new energy ion battery, which was partly damaged during the fire, carriers will explode when used or when exposed to fire. but still provided power. According to the investiga- However, seeking the worst case scenarios is important when tion, the most probable explanation of the incident was new energy carriers are developed. It is also important to incorrect electrical wiring, which led to excessive heat realize that all risks are not eliminated by introducing PRDs. generation. The heat destroyed some cells in the battery The outcome still depends on the design of these devices and leading to a short circuit and the fire. on the fire scenario. In October 2008, a car running on LPG suddenly exploded in South Yorkshire, United Kingdom. Remark- Wu of Sheffield University performed a CFD analysis ably the driver survived and was able to describe the of hydrogen fires in tunnels. Hydrogen cars generate fast, accident. He had recently refueled this car and was pro- high rising flames that quickly reach high temperatures (47). ceeding slowly when he smelled gas. He had been told The body of the hydrogen car was not ignited and the flames that this was normal after refueling. When he lit a ciga- lasted only a few minutes. It was concluded that a supercritical rette the gas was ignited and filled the car with flames. velocity in the tunnel can completely eliminate the smoke