Is Hydrogen Safe?

Issue 6 and Volume 130.

Is Hydrogen Safe? Hydrogen can be safely stored and used as a commercial fuel, according to a new publication of the National Bureau of Standards. Because it burns cleanly and is quickly returned to the environment, hydrogen has often been proposed as a good synthetic fuel to take the place of less abundant fuels such as gasoline or natural gas. One of its major drawbacks is its reputation as an explosive that was firmly fixed in the public mind by the Hindenburg disaster in 1937. “Is Hydrogen Safe?” by Jesse Hord of the NBS Crogenic Division compares hydrogen as a safety hazard to gasoline and met hane, the major component of natural gas. Hord’s conclusion is that all three fuels can be safely stored and used, but that the amount of risk for each fuel depends on the particular application, and should be tested in advance. Based on a review…

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