Safety assessment and mitigation of hazards from TPRD in-situ of hydrogen vehicle

This project is funded by:

  • SusHY


High-pressure hydrogen releases from thermally activated pressure relief device (TPRD), if ignited, can generate significant thermal and pressure loads on humans and structures. TPRD is required by regulation to exclude onboard hydrogen tank rupture in a fire by the release of hydrogen. The design and position of TPRD should be optimised to provide the shortest time of reaction to the fire and to allow passengers’ rescue and self-evacuation in the case of accident without being compromised by hydrogen jet fire resulting from TPRD release.

This study aims to develop a comprehensive computational fluid dynamic (CFD) model for high-pressure hydrogen release and combustion from a realistic TPRD nozzle to aid safer design of TPRD for high-pressure hydrogen storage onboard vehicles.

The research project will address the following design challenges:

  • TPRD nozzle and pipeline design should provide for minimal possible flame length and associated hazard distances not to impede on passengers’ self-evacuation and operation of rescue services.
  • In the same time the TPRD design should exclude flame blow-off during tank blowdown to avoid accumulation of hydrogen and formation of explosible hydrogen-air mixture.
  • Ignited or unignited hydrogen release from TPRD should exclude potential for development of the pressure peaking phenomenon (PPP) if initiated in a domestic garage or maintenance workshop.
  • TPRD assembly performance should exclude its false initiation during fast hydrogen fuelling.

Research outcomes of this study are expected in the form of recommendations for safe design of TPRD for onboard hydrogen storage. The candidate will work alongside HySAFER team members contributing to development of regulations, codes and standards in the area of hydrogen fuelled vehicles safety.

Strong background in one or more of the following disciplines is expected: mathematics, physics, chemistry, fluid dynamics, heat and mass transfer, combustion, computational fluid dynamics. Any previous experience of theoretical analysis and/or numerical studies is welcome. The PhD researcher will focus on CFD modelling and numerical simulations, ‎use relevant software (ANSYS Fluent, FieldView, etc.) and the state-of-‎the-art computational resources – multi-processor workstations ‎available at HySAFER Centre and HPC facility available within EPSRC ‎KELVIN-2 project. This research will be aligned to HySAFER’s ‎externally funded projects and reported at international conferences. ‎Publication of results in peer-reviewed journals is expected.

Essential criteria

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study.

We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.

In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.

  • Clearly defined research proposal detailing background, research questions, aims and methodology

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • Masters at 65%

Funding and eligibility

This project is funded by:

  • SusHY
  • These fully funded scholarships include a tax-free stipend of £16,909 per annum, subject to satisfactory progress over a 4 year period, tuition fees, and a research budget. These awards are open to home/EU and overseas applicants.

    The Doctoral College at Ulster University

    Key dates

    Submission deadline
    Friday 5 February 2021

    Interview Date
    April 2021

    Preferred student start date
    Mid-September 2021


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    Contact supervisor

    Dr Dmitriy Makarov

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