The Texas Transportation Institute’s (TTI’s) Roadside Safety Program is helping to determine the crashworthiness and safety of vehicles equipped with hydrogen fuel tanks in a series of unusual crash tests at the Riverside Campus. The tests will help provide data toward the development of federal motor vehicle safety standards when hydrogen becomes an alternative fuel for U.S. vehicles.
“We know very little about the integrity of hydrogen fuel systems following a crash,” says Roger Bligh, manager of the Roadside Safety Program. “The three crashes we conducted for Battelle are one step in the long process of evaluating hydrogen as a fuel alternative for the U.S. vehicle fleet. There was a lot of planning that went into these tests, and I am very pleased that they were performed successfully and safely.”
Data from the highly instrumented crash vehicles, which were subjected to different impact scenarios, are currently being evaluated. During each of three crashes, a College Station Police Department remote control robot was on hand as one means of venting the hydrogen fuel tank after impact.
The Battelle tests were part of a contract it has with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Additional crash tests with different impact conditions or vehicle types could result from the three initial tests.