Hydrogen has been proven to be as safe as or even safer than other flammable fuels such as gasoline or natural gas.
In many cases, hydrogen is safer than the current fuel we use to power our cars. Carbon-based fuels tend to spread as liquids, if you’ve ever spilled gasoline on yourself it burns on your skin. That’s because conventional fuel produces hot ash, creating radiant heat. This isn’t the case with hydrogen, because hydrogen burns no carbon and produces no hot ash and very little radiant heat.
Hydrogen is just as safe as gasoline that in your vehicles fuel tanks, if not safer. The average car gasoline tank holds three to four times the fuel and thus three to four times the explosive power.
As with any fuel, safe handling depends on knowledge of its particular physical, chemical, and thermal properties and consideration of safe ways to accommodate those properties. Hydrogen, handled with this knowledge, is a safe fuel. To ensure that hydrogen is handled responsibly, the International Organization for Standardization has developed international safety standards.
Companies that manufacture hydrogen and fuel cell products and build hydrogen stations use many features that continue to be validated through safety tests. Hydrogen has been safely produced, stored, transported, and used in large amounts for over 20 years.
Hydrogen is the lightest of the elements, approximately 14 times lighter than air. So even though it is flammable, escaped hydrogen (burning or not) dissipates quickly and typically in a narrow column shooting straight up into the atmosphere. Hydrogen vapors don’t pool on the ground, as do gasoline’s heavier-than-air vapors. So in most cases, hydrogen doesn’t present as great fire or explosive danger. To further minimize the potential for explosion, almost all hydrogen fuel stations store the gas above the ground in well-vented areas.
The University of California at Irvine has operated a public hydrogen station for over 12 years without incident, stated Mr. Carl Baust, alternative energy projects specialist for the Orange County Fire Authority. Also in Southern California hydrogen vehicles have been on the highways since 2002 with no incidents.
The vehicles themselves have arrays of hydrogen sensors that sound alarms and seal valves and fuel lines in case of a hydrogen leak. Additionally, the pressurized tanks that hold the hydrogen have been tested repeatedly and found to be safe in collisions.
In 2001, researchers at the University Of Miami’s College of Engineering set fire to the hydrogen in a tank mounted in an SUV and later punctured the fuel line on a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle and set the leaking gas on fire. The burning hydrogen versus gasoline test showed that flames caused “severe” damage to the gasoline vehicle, whereas the hydrogen vehicle was undamaged because the burning hydrogen gas vented up and away from the vehicle.
Hydrogen for energy storage, fuel cells and power production is growing rapidly here in the USA and abroad.
We are seeking potential companies that are interested in manufacturing the Hydrogen energy technology.