Hydrogen safety is a big topic. Like almost any fuel, it is flammable and explosive. Most people immediately think of the Hindenburg airship explosion or the hydrogen bomb. Hydrogen has been used for more than a century in various industries and today's technologies for storing it, for example, are advanced.
Hydrogen safety is a big topic. Like almost any fuel, it is flammable and explosive. Most people immediately think of the Hindenburg airship explosion or the hydrogen bomb. Hydrogen has been used for more than a century in various industries and today's technologies for storing it, for example, are advanced. Even the abundance of hydrogen vehicles shows that hydrogen is a sufficiently reliable and safe fuel.Hydrogen places demands on the tightness of the equipment
Hydrogen has a high energy density, is flammable and explosive. It forms an explosive mixture with air from a low concentration, the flame is hardly visible, its escape cannot be detected by human senses. It has very small molecules and thus places increased demands on the tightness of the whole installation. Although these properties appear to be less favourable, the flash tests of a hydrogen tank show less destructive effects on the vehicle and its crew than those of a petrol tank.
Hydrogen tanks nowadays have an overpressure venting system
Due to its low density, hydrogen rises up very quickly when the tank is breached and any fire is more likely to occur outside and above the vehicle (compared to petrol, where the fuel burns under the floor of the car). Hydrogen tanks are equipped with a system to vent overpressure and escaping gas outside the danger area. The tanks are very rigorously tested through a series of demanding pressure and destructive tests. One of these is firing a gun into a pressurised tank, which must not rupture uncontrollably after being shot.
The use of hydrogen is not new
The use of hydrogen is not new in recent years. It is commonly consumed, for example, in the petrochemical or food industry. We know how to work with it, and the technologies used to store it, for example, have been tested over the years. Only its use as an energy carrier is relatively new. Numerous cars and buses around the world are proving that hydrogen is a sufficiently reliable and safe fuel.
Plenty of hydrogen cars and filling stations
You can see the research on the number of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), the number of filling stations and the targets set in this area here.
Hydrogen vs. petrol tank combustion test
See the combustion test of a petrol and hydrogen tank. This is a rather old video, but still illustrative enough.