Research Project

SUVEREN – Increasing safety in underground urban spaces with the use of new energy carriers

In the context of global warming, vehicles with innovative drive technologies are increasingly being used to reduce CO2 emissions. The so-called new energy carriers (NEC) include, for example, batteries, compressed natural gas (CNG), hydrogen or various biofuels. Fires from e-vehicles in particular repeatedly attract a great deal of media attention. The evaluation of fire-fighting options for battery fires was therefore an essential task of the project.

It can be assumed that new energy sources will increasingly be found in urban infrastructures, for example in stationary energy supply or as fuel for vehicles, especially in local public transport.

Current safety concepts, guidelines or standards and the parameters they set for planning purposes in public spaces (including heat release rates, fire fighting measures or rescue concepts) assume the risks of conventional energy sources. However, the use of new energy sources leads to other and novel hazards such as battery fires, flash fires from pressurised gas containers or the spread of highly flammable gases.

The research project, funded by the Federal Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF), dealt with new risks and future safety concepts with regard to the increasing use of new energy sources in vehicles. The consortium investigated the following topics in detail:

Safe use of new energy sources in underground urban spaces

  • Identification of current and future risks related to the use of new energy sources
  • Development of scenarios for risks related to the use of new energy sources
  • Current findings for safety in underground urban spaces

Case studies with the involvement of operators

  • Collection and analysis of case studies
  • Analysis of existing methods of the status quo
  • Analysis of new methods based on the case studies

Technologies for damage minimisation

  • Development of active measures to improve safety in underground urban spaces (esp. fire fighting of battery fires)
  • Proof of the effectiveness of the active measures
  • Development of concepts for new and existing underground urban spaces

Safety concepts for underground urban spaces

  • Development of methods for the assessment of safety
  • Generalisation of the results
  • Recommendation for the equipment and design of new and existing underground infrastructure

Standards, regulations and training programme

  • Training programme for planners and operators
  • Implementation of the results in standards and regulations

This post is also available in: German