Hydrogen Compressor - Simulating Leaks & Explosion Impacts

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    August 20, 2020
  • Duration:
    20 minutes
  • Skill Level:
    Intermediate
  • PDHs:
    0.40

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Hydrogen compressors are important equipment in aromatics production and other hydrogenation facilities. Any failure causing a leak can result in a serious accident. To study the impact of explosions caused by leaks from a hydrogen compressor, a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) numerical simulation software FLACS, which has been extensively validated, was used. A large three – dimensional model of a chemical plant was constructed to simulate the hydrogen leakage and explosion scenarios. The volume of the stoichiometric flammable gas cloud is obtained by gas leakage and dispersion simulation, and the hydrogen explosion simulation is carried out on the basis of gas dispersion. The simulation results show that CFD models like FLACS can effectively model the hydrogen releases and dispersion in a complex domain, and the overpressure impacts of the explosions can be obtained. The calculated stoichiometric flammable gas cloud volume is useful to determine the impact of the leaks and the resulting explosions. Because of the high degree of congestion in the production facilities, the explosion overpressure and impulses is usually very large. The explosion overpressure is proportional to the volume of the combustible gas cloud. The numerical simulation results can then be used to assess the influence of the explosion on the surrounding equipment and buildings and provide guidance for emergency planning for hydrogen accidents. This paper will provide a detailed review of a CFD simulation of an actual hydrogen compressor accident, to effectively model releases in a complex congested environment and get reasonable estimates of explosion impacts on buildings and structures in the vicinity of the events.
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