Performance of Hydrogen Storage Tanks of Type IV in a Fire: Effect of the State of Charge

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The use of hydrogen storage tanks at 100% of nominal working pressure (NWP) is expected only after refuelling. Driving between refuellings is characterised by the state of charge SoC 100%. There is experimental evidence that Type IV tanks tested in a fire at initial pressures below 1/3 NWP, leaked without rupture. This paper aims at understanding this phenomenon. The numerical research has demonstrated that the heat transfer from fire through the composite overwrap at storage pressures below NWP/3 is sufficient to melt the polymer liner. This melting initiates hydrogen microleaks through the composite before it loses the load-bearing ability. The fire-resistance rating (FRR) is defined as the time to rupture in a fire of a tank without or with blocked thermally activated pressure relief device. The dependence of a FRR on the SoC is demonstrated for the tanks with defined material properties and volumes in the range of 36–244 L. A composite wall thickness variation is shown to cause a safety issue by reducing the tank’s FRR and is suggested to be addressed by tank manufacturers and OEMs. The effect of a tank’s burst pressure ratio on the FRR is investigated. Thermal parameters of the composite wall, i.e., decomposition heat and temperatures, are shown in simulations of a tank failure in a fire to play an important role in its FRR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-398
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Early online date23 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished online - 23 Sept 2021


  • hydrogen storage tank
  • state of charge
  • fire-resistance rating
  • burst pressure ratio
  • decomposition temperature and heat
  • liner melting


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