Enhancing Safety: The Importance of Combustible Gas Detection for CNG, H2, and EVs
As the world transitions towards more sustainable energy sources and transportation, compressed natural gas (CNG), hydrogen (H2), and electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular. While these options offer cleaner and greener alternatives, it’s crucial to address safety concerns associated with them, particularly regarding combustible gas detection. Combustible gas detection in the context of CNG, H2, and EVs is critically important, as these cutting-edge technologies play a crucial role in ensuring a safe and sustainable future.
Over the years, CNG has gained traction as a viable alternative to conventional gasoline and diesel fuels due to its lower emissions and cost-effectiveness. However, CNG is a highly combustible gas, and any leakage can pose serious safety risks. Combustible gas detection systems are essential for CNG-powered vehicles and fueling stations to detect potential leaks promptly. Methane leaks from drilling activities, liquified natural gas changing phase from liquid into gaseous methane and leaks from stored CNG tanks escape into the atmosphere and are prime contributors to global warming. In fact, the global warming potential of methane can be up to 30 times the same amount of carbon dioxide. Detection of methane gas leaks can prevent combustible gas accumulations leading to fire and explosions, and may also serve to reduce global warming.
Hydrogen fuel cells are hailed as a breakthrough in clean energy technology as they produce only water vapor as a byproduct. However, hydrogen is an extremely flammable gas, requiring a robust safety plan including early warning detection. In H2-powered vehicles and storage facilities, sophisticated combustible gas detection systems play a vital role in monitoring hydrogen gas levels. Using combustible gas detection technology, operators can take immediate action to prevent accidents and maintain the integrity of hydrogen as a safe and clean energy source.
While EVs do not directly produce combustible gasses, their charging, discharging and energy storage design presents unique safety concerns. Lithium-ion batteries of various chemistries pose a fire risk due to overheating, battery cell damage, manufacturing defects, and charging system failures. This is known as thermal runaway. A Lithium battery cell can create an avalanche effect on adjacent cells leading to an explosion and fire. Prior to thermal runaway, a Lithium-ion battery emits a variety of detectable gasses including Carbon Monoxide, Methane, and Hydrogen as well as toxic gasses. A combustible gas detection system is available to provide early warning of an impending hazardous situation. When integrated into an overall safety system, combustible gas sensors and controls provide an excellent layer of protection and can help to prevent a disaster.
The increasing adoption of CNG, H2, and EVs holds great promise for a greener and more sustainable future. An investment in a well-designed and maintained safety system must remain at the forefront of this energy transition. Combustible gas detection technology plays a pivotal role in mitigating the risks associated with these alternative fuel sources. With a realistic understanding of the hazards involved with these cutting-edge technologies, people can confidently move towards a safer and cleaner transportation landscape for generations to come.
Total Fire Systems has been an innovator and integrator of combustible gas detection systems in a variety of applications. While the physics and electrochemistry concepts are very mature, sensor technology is ever changing. Total Fire Systems designs and manufactures electronic systems in the US keeping up with the latest market safety needs and the latest electronic technologies. TFS engineers are tasked with continuous improvement in both design, manufacturing and field services.