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Hydrogen Tank Exploded in Green Fuel Station. Is The Technology Safe Enough for Cars?

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Hydrogen, the most clean fuel in the universe, has been seen with skepticism by many. Although bad events involving exploded hydrogen tanks are rare, Monroe County’s (NY) Green Fuel Station on Scottsville Road experienced the explosion of two tanks filled with hydrogen.

Black smoke has been sent into the air, although I don’t find an explanation of where the smoke was from – surely not from the hydrogen.

Unpleasant consequences arrived: two persons injured, but none of them seriously. The cause of the explosion was under investigation. “It is an accident,” Airport Director David Damelio said. “We need to find out what caused it and what we can do to keep this from happening again in the future.”

It’s the first incident that I hear about since writing about alternative energy. Its consequences are not so painful, but they give a sign that our compressed gas technology is not safe enough.

If we want to further expand the hydrogen distribution networks so they reach every gas station, common sense says that there’s a higher probability of similar events to happen.

Perhaps speeding things up on the storage part and implementing low pressure hydrogen containers that hold the gas in their molecular structure rather than having them compressed, would exclude the variant in which we’ll have big bombs in our backyards or gas stations.

Just like we got smart technologies that could replace gasoline, we might just change the old hammer-style way of carrying gases in a much safer manner.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. This is the trick of the ‘hydrogen fuel cell’ scam. The reason so many morons invest in the storage of more hydrogen rather than vehicles with a cheaper and more efficient direct conversion system where you store more water and less hydrogen. When there are more incidents like this, the concept will become illegal even for systems like ours that use hardly any hydrogen and are harmless.
    The hydrogen fuel cell is a scam set up to discredit the fuel and power potential of direct conversion methods with lower levels of less compressed hydrogen.

  2. Before we run around scaring people about the dangers of hydrogen, let’s put this in perspective. Every year, numerous gasoline powered cars burst into flames. Gas stations explode and burn down. But these aren’t seen as news, just unfortunate accidents.

    Hydrogen is volatile, but much safer than gasoline. When there’s a gasoline leak, it stays on the ground, soaks into other object and sets things on fire when it burns. When hydrogen leak, it very quickly rises up and away, where it can do no harm. Gasoline is a poison, period. It seeps into the ground, costs huge amounts of money to clean up. Hydrogen cannot damage ground water or be an environmental hazard. Compared to fossil fuels, hydrogen is far less harmful in virtually every way.

    There will always be accidents. Hydrogen tanks will explode. People will die. Fuels, by their basic nature, are volatile. But hydrogen is no more dangerous, in fact, much less so, than many other fuels.

    Here are some references for those interested
    http://alternativefuels.about.com/od/hydrogen/a/safehydrogen.htm
    http://debatepedia.idebate.org/en/index.php/Argument:_Hydrogen_in_cars_is_less_dangerous_than_gasoline

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