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Calculate Hydrogen Gas Emissions Industrial Batteries

When designing a battery room,

ventilation requirements need to be
taken into consideration. Lead acid
motive power batteries give off
hydrogen gas and other fumes when
recharging and for a period after the
charge is complete.
Proper ventilation in the battery
charging area is extremely important.
A hydrogen-in-air mixture of 4% or
greater substantially increases the
risk of an explosion. The
concentration of hydrogen should be
kept below 1% to provide a safety
Hydrogen gas is colorless and
odorless. It is also lighter than air and
will disperse to the top of a building.


Calculating Room


Determining Fan

Do You Need
Forced Ventilation

Hydrogen Gas
Detector (HGD-1)
The information below is provided for reference only. State and local codes may apply that
supersede these guidelines. The following is for general understanding only, and GB
Industrial Battery takes no responsibility for these guidelines.

Step 1: Calculating Hydrogen Concentration

A typical lead acid motive power battery will develop approximately .01474 cubic feet of
hydrogen per cell at standard temperature and pressure.
H = (C x O x G x A)


(H) = Volume of hydrogen produced during recharge.

(C) = Number of cells in battery.
(O) = Percentage of overcharge assumed during a recharge, use 20%.
(G) = Volume of hydrogen produced by one ampere hour of charge. Use .01474 to get
cubic feet.
(A) = 6-hour rated capacity of the battery in ampere hours.
(R) = Assume gas is released during the last (4) hours of an 8-hour charge.
Example: Number cells per battery = 24
Ampere size of battery = 450 A.H.
(H) = (24 x 20 x .01474 x
450) 4

H = 7.9596 cubic feet per battery per hour

Step 2: Calculating Room Volume

For a room with a flat roof volume is calculated W x L x H less the volume of chargers and
other fixed objects in the battery room.
W= Width
L = Length
H = Height
Example: Room size 80 feet long, 60 feet wide and 30 feet tall.
V = 60 x 80 x 30
V = 144,000 cu.ft.

Step 3: Determining Ventilation Requirement

Assume 75 batteries stored.

7.9596 x 75 = 596.97 cubic feet per hour (7.9596 calculated in Step 1)
Battery room 144,000 cu. ft. from example in Step 2
V = R x P H x 60 minutes
(V) = Ventilation required
(R) = Room cu. ft.
(P) = Maximum percentage of hydrogen gas allowed
(H) = Total hydrogen produced per hour
V = 144,000 x .01% 596.97 x 60
V = 144.73 or the air should be exchanged every 144.73 minutes (2 hours 24 minutes)

Step 4: Determining Fan Requirement

Fan Size = R x 60 minutes V

(R) = Room cu. ft.
(V) = Ventilation required
144,000 x 60 144.73 = 59 697.36 cu. ft. per hour or 995 CFM.
The ventilation system should be capable of extracting 59,697.36 cu.ft. per hour or 995

Step 5: Do You Need Forced Ventilation

In theory the 596.97 cu. ft./hr. only represents .004% which is < 1%. Therefore forced
ventilation would not be required for this example.

However, the following should be considered before ruling out forced ventilation:
Is the battery room closed in or open? If closed in no
natural ventilation may be possible.
Since hydrogen gas rises are there areas in the ceiling
where gas may collect in greater concentrations.
The above calculation represents worse case scenario
assuming all batteries are gassing at the same time. This
is highly improbable.
If natural ventilation is sufficient in an open area forced ventilation should not be required.
If your calculations determine a percentage <1% hydrogen concentration, we recommend
a Hydrogen Gas Detector for safe measure, part number HGD-1.

Hydrogen Gas Detector (HGD-1)

Should the concentration of hydrogen gas in the air surrounding the sensor reach 1% by
volume, the "1% caution" yellow LED will light and the 1% internal relay will close. Should
the hydrogen gas concentration reach 2% by volume, the "2% warning" red LED will flash
and an 80 db alarm will sound; the 1% relay will remain closed and, if a Dual-Relay model,
the 2% internal relay will close. Either relay can activate a remote exhaust fan and/or

Hydrogen, colorless and odorless, is the lightest of all gases and thus rises. The detector,
therefore, should be installed at the highest, draft-free location in the battery
compartment or room where hydrogen gas would accumulate.
The size of the area one detector will protect depends upon battery compartment room.
The detector measures the hydrogen gas in the air immediately surrounding the sensor. If
hydrogen gas might accumulate in several, unconnected areas in the compartment or
room, individual detectors should be placed at each location.
Optional Accessories: steel junction box mounting on wall or ceiling; modular jack (with
duplicate LEDs; test button; and buzzer if needed) for remote placement; telephone-type
cable for connecting the modular jack to the detector.

Added Benefits
In addition to protecting your employees and your property, the detector also may reduce
the following costs:Electricity Heating Air Conditioning. Instead of continuously running
an exhaust fan to prevent hydrogen gas accumulation, use the detector to activate the
fan only if the concentration reaches 1%. Insurance. Installation of a detector in areas
where batteries are charged may result in a premium reduction.