For the emerging hydrogen-powered vehicles, the safety concern is one of the most important barriers for their further development and commercialization. The safety of commercial natural gas vehicles has been well accepted and the total number of natural gas vehicles operating worldwide was approximately 23 million by November 2016. Hydrogen vehicles would be more acceptable for the general public if their safety is comparable to that of commercialized CNG vehicles. A comparison study is conducted to reveal the differences of hazard distances and accident durations between hydrogen vehicles and CNG vehicles during a representative accident in an open environment. The tank blowdown time for hydrogen and CNG are calculated separately to compare the accident durations. CFD simulations for real world situations are performed to study the hazard distances from impinging jet fires under vehicle. Results show that the release duration for CNG vehicle is over two times longer than that for hydrogen vehicle, indicating that CNG vehicle jet fire accident is more timeconsuming and firefighters have to wait a longer time before they can safely approach the vehicle. For both hydrogen vehicle and CNG vehicle, the longest hazard distance near the ground occur about 1 to 4 seconds after the initiation of the thermally-activated pressure relief devices. Afterwards the flames will shrink and the hazard distances will decrease. For firefighters with bunker gear, they must stand 6 m and 14 m away from the hydrogen vehicle and CNG vehicle, respectively. For general public, a perimeter of 12 m and 29 m should be set around the accident scene for hydrogen vehicle and CNG vehicle, respectively.
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