To those people who think a large semi tractor trailer truck carrying compressed hydrogen would be akin to the Hindenburg if it were ever in a crash, here is the counterpoint to the Hindenburg fallacy.
A large truck this week carrying 25,000 lbs. of compressed hydrogen gas, did in fact, cross a couple of lanes and crash. The crash caused by a sleepy driver in Middlebury, Connecticut, however resulted in no explosion.
This is not to say that hydrogen gas is completely safe, because it isn’t. It is a flammable fuel and needs to be handled with care. But, hydrogen is no more dangerous than many other fuels that travel our highways and byways.
For instance, when a truck carrying gasoline gets in a crash, the fuel may explode upon impact, or more likely spread about all over the ground. If this liquid gasoline is ignited the flames stay close to the ground where people are.
By contrast, hydrogen is the lightest element in the universe. So, when it escapes its container it goes up. If hydrogen catches fire it also burns upwards. The truck that crashed this week, was very well constructed to handle impacts.
The hydrogen that did escape after the crash was from a pinhole leak at the valve of one of the canisters. The rest of the canisters suffered no leakage.
As hydrogen is integrated into the mainstream of our daily lives, it is worthwhile to address the public fears about this fuel. But, since there’s no fuel like an old fuel, knowledge and understanding will go a long way towards alleviating these fears. And, in a few years hydrogen will have the same status as gasoline as a fuel we have to handle with care, but is not that dangerous if proper precautions are used.