New guidelines for fire and rescue services when dealing with vehicles run on alternative fuels have been proposed by a research project in Sweden.

The project focused on commercial gaseous fuels (liquefied petroleum gas; LPG, DME, methane, and hydrogen gas) and electric vehicles in the project run by RISE Research Institutes of Sweden (former SP Fire Research) and funded by the Nordic Road Association (NVF),

Road tunnels and underground garages were considered particularly high-risk environments with regard to fires and explosions.

The greatest risks were found to come from gaseous fuels and pressure-vessel explosions, and the potential release of toxic gases, such as hydrogen fluoride, from Li-ion batteries.

One of the greatest dangers posed by electric vehicles was thought to come not from the technology used but uncertainty regarding how to handle them during a rescue operation, and so a greater degree of risk.

Two workshops were organised to get feedback from stakeholders and start discussion of the issues. Future research, risk-reducing measures, rescue service guidance and changes to regulations and guidelines were discussed and proposed in a report written by Jonatan Gehandler, Peter Karlsson, Lotta Vylund. It can be downloaded from: