Minimum ignition energy of hydrogen-air mixtures at ambient and cryogenic temperatures

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The ignition and combustion of hydrogen in air is considered more hazardous compared to other fuels due to the lower minimum ignition energy (MIE) and the wider flammability range. Spark discharge is the most common type of electrostatic ignition hazard. There is a need in validated safety engineering tools to accurately calculate MIE in a wide range of temperatures from atmospheric to cryogenic which are characteristic for hydrogen systems and infrastructure. Current MIE assessment methodologies rely on the availability of experimental data on quenching distance and/or laminar burning velocity and thus are mostly empirical correlations. This prevents their application beyond the limited number of experimental data, i.e. to arbitrary composition of the hydrogen-air mixture at arbitrary temperatures including cryogenic. This work aims at the development of a model able to accurately predict MIE for hydrogen-air mixtures with arbitrary initial composition and temperature. Cantera and Chemkin software are used to calculate the properties and unstretched laminar burning velocity of hydrogen-air mixtures. The flame thickness is found to well represent the critical flame kernel in the suggested model. The model is validated against experimental data on MIE for mixtures at ambient and cryogenic (down to 123 K) temperatures. Results show that the effect of flame stretch and preferential diffusion shall be considered to accurately predict MIE for lean hydrogen-air mixtures, which was not possible for previous models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16530-16544
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number43
Early online date31 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 19 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to Professor A. N. Lipatnikov for sharing his expertise on the calculation of combustion properties for hydrogen-air mixtures and valuable discussions. This research has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (now Clean Hydrogen Partnership) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 779613 (PRESLHY) and No. 736648 (NET-Tools). This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)


  • hydrogen safety
  • spark ignition
  • minimum ignition energy
  • cryogenic temperatures
  • model
  • Spark ignition
  • Hydrogen safety
  • Model
  • Cryogenic temperatures
  • Minimum ignition energy


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