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TOPIC : PNR for safety of hydrogen driven vehicles and transport through tunnels and similar confined spaces

Topic identifier: FCH-04-1-2018
Publication date: 16 January 2018

Types of action: FCH2-RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
16 January 2018
Deadline: 24 April 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-JTI-FCH-2018
Work Programme Part: H2020-JTI-FCH-2018
Topic Updates
  • 20 August 2018 17:58

    An overview of the evaluation results (flash call info) is now available under the "Additional Documents" section of each topic page.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

It is a long standing finding of the research community that hydrogen behaves very benign in free environment. Confinement and congestion, however, promote more severe accidental consequences. The Network of Excellence (NoE) project HySafe derived from this the strong need for improving the principal understanding of and the development of validated risk assessment tools for the accidental behaviour of hydrogen in tunnels and summarised the state-of-the-art in the HyTunnel study [23]. Facing the intended accelerated deployment of hydrogen powered mobility on one side and the steadily increasing part of traffic infrastructure, which is established in tunnels or in similar confined spaces on the other side, will urge any new standard or regulation for transport systems to address also the specific safety issues involved with this new alternative fuel in tunnels and similarly confined space, like underground parking etc. Serious fires in some road tunnels in the Alpine countries during the years 1999 and 2001 triggered the issuing of the European tunnel safety directive 2004/54/EC [24]. National implementations of this directive are due by 2019 [25]. Neither this directive nor any other international regulation, codes or standards, e.g. PIARC 1999 [26] or NFPA 502 [27], provide specific guidance for evaluating the appropriateness of conventional mitigation technology (ventilation, water spray or fog, foams, etc.), conventional safety management and established first responders strategies in case of a tunnel accident with an hydrogen vehicle or hydrogen transport involved. The referred methodologies (FMEA, CFD, etc.) are rather generic and lack validated models for evaluating the effectiveness of the quite expensive tunnel equipment.
Therefore, the aforementioned European regulation related to tunnel safety and safe efficient supply of the alternative fuel hydrogen (AFI Directive) and the related safety assessments urgently require a sound scientific basis and a better understanding underpinned by experimentally generated validation data. Obvious knowledge gaps concerning the interaction of hydrogen dispersion and in particular combustion with existing safety installations have to be filled with pre-normative research, relying equally on experimental proofs and numerical extrapolations. The generated knowledge and tools should be translated to similar scenarios, including railway tunnels and underground or multi-storey car parking.


[23]: HyTunnel Internal Report, NoE HySafe

[24]: European Directive 2004/54/EC on minimum safety requirements for tunnels in the Trans-European Road Network

[25]: Richtlinie für die Ausstattung und den Betrieb von Straßentunneln‘‘ (RABT), German Implementation of the European Directive 2004/54/EC

[26]: World Road Association (PIARC) (1999). Fire and smoke control in road tunnels. World Road Association, Paris, France

[27]: NFPA (2004). NFPA 502 – Standard for Road Tunnels, Bridges, and other Limited Access Highways, (a) 2004 ed.; (b) 2008 ed. National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, Massachusetts


The scope of the proposed project shall be confined to traffic infrastructures, in particular tunnels according to the implementation of EU directive 2004/54/EC and the effectiveness and interaction of conventional and innovative safety measures in case of accidents with hydrogen-powered vehicles or hydrogen transport in tunnels. For providing guidance and suitable performance based requirements to regulatory bodies, technology suppliers and operators, an experimental program shall be designed and executed to analyse the interaction of hydrogen, its mixing and combustion behaviour, with conventional extinguishing agents, such as water sprays, water fogs, and foams, to investigate the influence on and effectiveness of ventilation and concerned ventilation strategies, to test the functionality and effectiveness of conventional safety installations and measures and if necessary to provide additional requirements for technical improvements regarding specific prevention and innovative mitigation techniques. The potential accumulation of hydrogen in air ventilation ducts, apertures and chambers and the specific hazards imposed by late ignitions and subsequent explosions shall be taken into consideration. Beyond that, the project shall also address the opportunity to support with the new data the validation of already existing models and quantitative risk assessment tools Thereby the results of the project will be available not only for safety evaluations of tunnels systems but also for similar confined traffic infrastructures like parking garages etc.. It will make the safety assessments more robust and potentially reduce costly over-conservatism. The analysis should also provide suitable data and information to instruct first responders for revision and improvement of their intervention strategies as well as of the general accident management. So the project activities should encompass:

  • Review of the current knowledge (state of the art) concerning safety in confined traffic infrastructures (especially tunnels) and its underpinning experiments as well as situation related to RCS in Europe;
  • Definition, characterisation and delimitation of EU tunnels as well as confined spaces in subcategories pertaining to the relevance of hydrogen vehicles and transportation (e.g. by length, cross section, ventilation rate, traffic throughout, hydrogen present per km, existing fire management facilities etc.) to aim on detailed understanding of fire and safety issues by category;
  • Identification and prioritisation of relevant knowledge gaps and scientific results (data) compared to the scope above;
  • Definition and realisation of necessary experiments, to investigate the interaction of hydrogen and hydrogen flames with conventional mitigation systems and strategies to prove effectiveness of conventional safety measures and/or deviate mitigation techniques and concepts;
  • Identification and evaluation of innovative safety strategies and engineering solutions to prevent and mitigate potential accidents with hydrogen powered vehicles in confined infrastructure with an initial focus on tunnels;
  • Check, and in case develop further intervention strategies and tactics for first responders providing conditions for their life safety at an accident scene and to maximise property protection;
  • Derive guideline for the proper use of mitigation systems and draft recommendations for standards developing organisations (SDOs);
  • Establish communication channels with other research communities worldwide and involved international SDOs for the sustainable implementation of the project outcomes;
  • Collaboration with FCH 2 JU safety panel and identified experts worldwide.

Any safety-related event that may occur during execution of the project shall be reported to the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) dedicated mailbox, which manages the European hydrogen safety reference database, HIAD.
Test activities should collaborate and use the protocols developed by the JRC Harmonisation Roadmap (see section 3.2.B "Collaboration with JRC – Rolling Plan 2018"), in order to benchmark performance of components and allow for comparison across different projects.

The FCH 2 JU considers that proposals requesting a contribution of EUR 2.5 million per project would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
A maximum of 1 project may be funded under this topic.
Expected duration: 3 years.

Expected Impact:
  • Unique experimental data concerning the interaction of hydrogen with tunnel safety equipment and the special geometries of confined infrastructures will be available;
  • Deeper knowledge of the relevant physics will provide better hydrogen safety engineering to underpin the development of innovative prevention and mitigation strategies;
  • Experimental data to support further development and validation of relevant physics models, simulation and risk assessment tools;
  • Recommendations for prevention and mitigation concepts for inherently safer use of hydrogen vehicles and safer transport of hydrogen in tunnels, and other confined infrastructures, such as underground parking;
  • Analysis of effectiveness of conventional safety measures in tunnels and other confined infrastructures like underground garages etc.;
  • Potential reduction of over-conservatism and increased efficiency of installed safety equipment will save costs;
  • More appropriate intervention strategies and tactics for first responders to tackle potential accidents with hydrogen powered vehicles in tunnels and underground parking etc. will protect life of first responders, people and property;
  • Commonly agreed, scientifically based recommendations for the update of relevant RCS will lead to a more harmonised normative landscape and level up the safety culture in general;

Type of action: Research and Innovation Action
The conditions related to this topic are provided in the chapter 3.3 and in the General Annexes to the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018– 2020 which apply mutatis mutandis.

Topic conditions and documents

1.   Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the H2020 main Work Programme.

      A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.


2.   Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the H2020 main Work Programme.

 The following exception applies (see 'chapter 3.3. Call management rules' from the FCH2 JU 2018 Work Plan and specific topic description):

- "For all Innovation Actions, an additional eligibility criterion has been introduced to limit the FCH 2 JU requested contribution"

     Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission tool below.


3.   Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the H2020 main Work Programme.
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

4.   Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreement:
      Information on the outcome of evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
      Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.


5.   Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

FCH JU Research and Innovation Action (FCH-RIA)

Specific rules and funding rates
Proposal templates are available after entering the submission tool below.
Standard evaluation form
FCH JU MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
H2020 Annotated Grant Agreement

FCH JU Innovation Action (FCH-IA)

Specific rules and funding rates
Proposal templates are available after entering the submission tool below.
Standard evaluation form
FCH JU MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
H2020 Annotated Grant Agreement

FCH JU Coordination and Support Action (FCH-CSA)

Specific rules and funding rates
Proposal templates are available after entering the submission tool below.
Standard evaluation form
FCH JU MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
H2020 Annotated Grant Agreement


6.   Additional requirements:

      Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
      Classified information
      Technology readiness levels (TRL)
      Financial support to Third Parties

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

7.   Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the H2020 main Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.

8.   Additional documents

FCH JU Work Plan
FCH2 JU Multi Annual Work Plan 
FCH2 JU – Regulation of establishment
H2020 Regulation of Establishment
H2020 Rules for Participation
H2020 Specific Programme

Additional documents

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