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Fire and Explosion At Hydrogen Station Near Rochester Airport

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the nothing-can-go-wrong dept.

Earth 357

RossR writes "There was a hydrogen fire and explosion at a renewable fuel station used by government vehicles near Rochester's airport. The nearby freeway and airport were closed resulting in diverted flights. This may the first major incident at a hydrogen vehicle refueling station. GM has their major fuel cell development center nearby, in the town of Honeoye Falls. The fire occurred when the 18-wheeler tractor truck was transferring hydrogen to the station. The airport press conference reported that airport firefighters responded first and initially waited on the scene deciding how to respond. No news yet if the hard to see flames of hydrogen combustion contributed to this delay. The fueling station is also adjacent to a NY State Trooper station, and a firefighting training facility is a few blocks away." RossR also provides a Police/FD Radio transcript. Luckily, no one was killed, and only two injured, including the driver.

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Renewable energy?! (0, Troll)

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385262)


[tinfoil_hat]
BP did it!
[/tinfoil_hat]

A close call but we made it this time (3, Funny)

Orga (1720130) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385288)

I was worried the accident had ignited the atmoshpere and there was a wall of fire coming for me now. Whew!

Re:A close call but we made it this time (0, Troll)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385444)

Worse.

It warmed the globe.

Re:A close call but we made it this time (5, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385714)

Oh, but hydrogen doesn't explode or even burn! Half a million slashdotters insisted as much, and profusely insisted that the Hindenburg really burned because of a "thermite" or "rocket fuel" skin. ;)

The reality is that hydrogen is an exceedingly flammable gas, much moreso than hydrocarbons, with 1/10th the ignition energy required many times the fuel-air combustible mixture range, and -- unlike hydrocarbons -- readily undergoes deflagration-to-detonation transitions in unconfined spaces. It's also extremely prone to leaks, burns largely clear, and tends to pool in fuel-air mixtures underneath overhangs. To top it all off, it's stored under immense pressure.

Re:A close call but we made it this time (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385818)

Yes, and if you inhale dihydrogen monoxide at room temperature, the effects can be lethal!

Look, if you want to store energy, there's going to be some energy in whatever you store it in. Gasoline burns pretty readily as well, explodes in confined spaces and it has this annoying tendency to pool around ground level when it's leaked rather than going up into the atmosphere. (It's also carcinogenic, unlike hydrogen). Diesel fuel doesn't explode, but it still burns, and worse, it doesn't evaporate at room temperature so when spilled, it stays there drastically reducing friction on the road surface until something washes it off. Lithium batteries can cause some nasty, difficult-to-extinguish fires. Nuclear fuel rods... well..

There's no perfectly safe way to store a bunch of energy. I don't think it's possible even in theory.

Re:A close call but we made it this time (4, Interesting)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385994)

Yep, I even know someone that has a nasty scar on his arm from when a mainspring blew and slashed him.

Re:A close call but we made it this time (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385962)

Hydrogen is very flammable, nobody disputes that, but is has to be given enough oxygen before it can ignite. As to the Hindenburg, not a single person was harmed by the burning hydrogen which was up and away moments after the storage cells ruptured. It wasn't the hydrogen that caused the Hindenburg incident, it would have played out almost exactly the same if they'd used helium instead.

So stop either scaremongering or being afraid of hydrogen, it's no bigger danger than the other stuff we use all the time.

God damn it... (5, Funny)

boneclinkz (1284458) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385290)

Now I need to go the whole way to Buffalo to top off my Zeppelin.

Obligatory (4, Funny)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385310)

Oh the humanity...

Ouch (1)

postermmxvicom (1130737) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385778)

Just sayin, the Hindenburg was an awful disaster. Have you ever listened to that broadcast?

Re:Ouch (4, Funny)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385796)

Too soon?

Re:Ouch (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385878)

I have. Your point?

Re:Ouch (1)

postermmxvicom (1130737) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385954)

It always had a weighty emotional impact with me. Kinda like watching people die on 9/11.

Geeze (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385376)

It is pretty fucked up when slashdot gets this up before CNN or Fox News.

Re:Geeze (3, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385502)

They still need time to figure out their editorial spin.

Re:Geeze (3, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385614)

Fox news needs to figure out how to blame Obama and CNN needs to find a way to blame the oil industry?

Re:Geeze (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385686)

Fox news needs to figure out how to blame Obama and CNN needs to find a way to blame the oil industry?

Who is watching our backs if Obama is actually an Oil loving captialist and this is all part of his diabolical plan to lure us into a 1920s-esque society of excess and bigotry?

Re:Geeze (3, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385768)

yes, and they both want to blame BP separately.

Let me correct that for you... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385792)

Fox news needs to figure out how to blame Obama and CNN needs to find a way to blame the oil industry?

Fox news needs to figure out how to blame Obama and CNN needs to find a way to blame Bush?

Re:Geeze (5, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385702)

Let me help them with that:

CNN: Look at this fancy floating pie chart that looks like something out of Star Wars! We are sleek and modern! You want to watch us! Oh, and there was an explosion today in Rochester....
MSNBC: Hydrogen fueling facility explodes. Tune in tonight for Countdown as Keith Olbermann explains why this is really George W. Bush's fault.
Fox: Hydrogen fueling facility explodes. Are the socialist policies of Barack Hussein Obama and Nancy Pelosi to blame?
Local news: Hydrogen fueling facility explodes on [street]. No word yet on damage or casualties. In other news, please tune in to the end of our broadcast to find out how [common household product] could be KILLING YOUR FAMILY.
Slashdot today: Fire and explosion At Hydrogen Station Near Rochester Airport
Slashdot one week from now: Fire and explosion At Hydrogen Station Near Rochester Airport
Slashdot one month from now: Fire and explosion At Hydrogen Station Near Rochester Airport

Re:Geeze (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385518)

damn shouldn't have posted it as AC I got modded up.

Re:Geeze (1)

TheRealFixer (552803) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385870)

CNN hadn't picked it up? I guess no one had tweeted about it yet.

Like there's never been a GAS STATION fire (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385384)

Someone will probably try to use this to say hydrogen is dangerous. I'd like to remind you gasoline is dangerous

Re:Like there's never been a GAS STATION fire (1, Insightful)

rujholla (823296) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385486)

Someone will probably try to use this to say hydrogen is dangerous. I'd like to remind you gasoline is dangerous

Yes gasoline storage is dangerous, but it is magnitudes easier and safer, for now, to contain gasoline than it is to contain hydrogen.

Re:Like there's never been a GAS STATION fire (2, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385648)

Gasoline has this unpleasant habit of spreading around at ground level even in vapor form. Hydrogen goes strait up.

  Gas is defiantly cheaper and easier to store, but it is quite likely that in the event of a fire, it will be the more dangerous fuel.

Re:Like there's never been a GAS STATION fire (1)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385882)

Gas: I AM CHEAPER *(&^(*&! most definitely defiant.

Re:Like there's never been a GAS STATION fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385500)

Someone will probably try to use this to say hydrogen is dangerous. I'd like to remind you gasoline is dangerous

I'd be curious to see a comparison between the "station explosion" rates of hydrogen stations of today and gasoline stations from back when the gasoline infrastructure was first being developed.

Re:Like there's never been a GAS STATION fire (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385524)

Don't just tell them gasoline is dangerous, show them.

Re:Like there's never been a GAS STATION fire (0, Flamebait)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385680)

Don't just tell them gasoline is dangerous, show them.

Okay. Here, hold this can of gasoline. I'll just insert this fuse and light it. You stand right there, and I'll, uh, just stand over here behind this building.

Re:Like there's never been a GAS STATION fire (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385910)

Don't just tell them gasoline is dangerous, show them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIDfcspoInw [youtube.com]

Re:Like there's never been a GAS STATION fire (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385624)

Yes, but the range of explosive air-fuel ratios for hydrogen is much, much wider than gasoline. It's why gas station attendants of the pat often smoked but rarely blew themselves up.

Hydrogen has it's advantages - for example, it doesn't hand around long. Then again, you can't smell it unless they add oderant to it like LPG (do they?). I'm not sure which is really "better" though.

Re:Like there's never been a GAS STATION fire (0)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385844)

Someone will probably try to use this to say hydrogen is dangerous. I'd like to remind you gasoline is dangerous

And that's why gasoline stations blow up every day, right?

Re:Like there's never been a GAS STATION fire (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385946)

Just like how hydrogen stations blow up every day.

Re:Like there's never been a GAS STATION fire (1)

eastlight_jim (1070084) | more than 4 years ago | (#33386004)

Indeed. With any flammable fuel there is always the potential for problems to arise leading to fire or other danger. We think we've got petroleum products fairly well sussed but every now and then something goes wrong [google.co.uk] . The key is to learn from mistakes and make future use of any given fuel or technology better and more idiot-proof.

What is the idea (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385392)

with calling Hydrogen "renewable fuel"? It still has to be generated - and most of the energy we use to extract Hydrogen comes from burning fossil fuels.

Now, if we could get electric generation down to solar/wind/geothermal/nuclear (and we NEED nuclear, because there's no way solar/wind/geothermal can equate to even 25% of our current use, let alone what increased population will need), maybe. But it's still lossy as fuck making hydrogen.

Re:What is the idea (2, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385490)

Yes, it's hard to make someone with less than an 8th grade understanding of science realize that hydrogen is a storage medium, not an energy source. That, sadly, leaves out a good bit of the US - and I suspect a large fraction of the rest of the world's population as well.

Re:What is the idea (4, Insightful)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385564)

Yes, it's hard to make someone with less than an 8th grade understanding of science realize that hydrogen is a storage medium, not an energy source. That, sadly, leaves out a good bit of the US - and I suspect a large fraction of the rest of the world's population as well.

By that logic there was only ever one energy source in existence, the Big Bang. Even the sun is just a huge ball of hydrogen and few other things that was all created long ago and will one day run out.

Re:What is the idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385682)

Yes, and?

Re:What is the idea (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385770)

Yes, and?

So what WOULD you consider a renewable energy source if this isn't one (according to the OP)?
The OP suggested that "solar/wind/geothermal" power were renewable energy sources, and that hydrogen wasn't. I was pointing out that at a large scale NONE of these are renewable.

Re:What is the idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385836)

At the human scale, then. Better? You dig for oil, with the oil that comes out you can build machines that can dig 10x faster, 10x deeper for 10x longer. That's why we use the stuff.

If we could dig for elemental molecular free hydrogen, we'd do it. It's not freely available, so we have to make it.

Clear now? Sinking in?

Re:What is the idea (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385988)

At the human scale, then. Better? You dig for oil, with the oil that comes out you can build machines that can dig 10x faster, 10x deeper for 10x longer. That's why we use the stuff.

If we could dig for elemental molecular free hydrogen, we'd do it. It's not freely available, so we have to make it.

Clear now? Sinking in?

I think you misunderstand me. I'm arguing that the listed items ARE renewable. I think we agree. I was just following out the flawed logic of the OP in stating that Hydrogen wasn't renewable, but the other items somehow were.

Re:What is the idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385900)

Go and ask Multivax about that one.

However, we've got about five billion years before the Sun starts to burn out, whereas we've got way less than that before we run out of fossil fuels to mine.

Re:What is the idea (2, Informative)

Romancer (19668) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385824)

WOOOOSH...

Try again.
The "logic" is that petroleum based products are made from a source that we find, separate, treat, and distribute. Compared to hydrogen which we separate and concentrate from naturally replenishing sources. We won't run out in our timescale. And not just for the abundance but for how we are using it. Look up a fuel cell and compare it with an ICE. Different methods are used for the extraction of energy. One is a storage system like a rechargeable battery; the other is a one way rapid oxidation. The battery is actually the hydrogen itself, not the tank. You invest in concentrating the hydrogen and compressing it.
   

Re:What is the idea (3, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385942)

Fossil fuels themselves are a form of solar energy, from sunshine that hit the Earth over millions of years and got stored in a process involving plants growing, being eaten, and the plants and the critters that ate them both dying and decomposing into oil and coal. The only real problem with fossil fuels is that there is a limited amount of this conveniently pre-stored solar power lying about, and using it the way we do releases pollutants and many of the things like carbon dioxide that were sequestered by the processes that created it.

It's only our short worldview that makes us see these as different sources of energy. The Earth has conveniently stored millions of years' worth of solar energy in very energy-dense, easy-to-use forms. Given how long ago they were created, many of us don't think of those as originally created by solar energy.

Re:What is the idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385570)

Just as it's hard to make someone with less than a 12th grade understanding of science realize that oil is a storage medium, not an energy source.

Re:What is the idea (1, Funny)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385912)

I think your both kind of optimistic on education...

Re:What is the idea (2, Funny)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385744)

Is it just my observation, or are there way too many stupid people in the world?.

Well about half the world is below average. ;-)

Re:What is the idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385986)

*Sigh* No. Half the world is below the median.

Re:What is the idea (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385546)

I was under the impression that when people talking about "Hydrogen" as a renewable fuel source they normally meant Methane, a very renewable combustable gas which features hydrogen.

But - as a little side note, Hydrogen gas DOES occur naturally, just not a whole lot on our planet, or when it does it escapes the atmosphere. But there are tons of nebulae* out there featuring H2 as is. It's as renewable as the Sun is, anyways, we just haven't figured out how yet.

Re:What is the idea (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385584)

* almost forgot. Is Nebulae the proper plural form of Nebula? or is it just Nebulas?

Re:What is the idea (2, Informative)

Criliric (879949) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385694)

A nebula (from Latin: "cloud";[1] pl. nebulae or nebulæ, with ligature or nebulas)
:)

Re:What is the idea (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385788)

I was under the impression that when people talking about "Hydrogen" as a renewable fuel source they normally meant Methane ...

I believe that is natural gas not hydrogen.

Re:What is the idea (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385794)

But there are tons of nebulae* out there featuring H2 as is. It's as renewable as the Sun is, anyways, we just haven't figured out how yet.

Do you really think a civilization that had the ability to travel light-years to reach a nebula would really have a need to harvest hydrogen to burn up in wasteful chemical reactions?

I suppose we could harvest hydrogen from our own solar system one day but even at that, what's the point?

Re:What is the idea (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385876)

Do you really think a civilization that had the ability to travel light-years to reach a nebula would really have a need to harvest hydrogen to burn up in wasteful chemical reactions?

A nomadic one, yes. Are you presuming that they have unlocked FTL travel or something? Hydrogen has some very specific properties, in its elemental state and in any compound it ends up in - which makes it valuable. Suppose Hydrogen became the only resource we needed because we could engineer any compound out of simple Hydrogen Molecules

Re:What is the idea (4, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385574)

This term, "renewable", you keep using it, I do no think it means what I think you think it means.

A "renewable" fuel is a fuel that we can make more of when we need it. It doesn't mean it's something we have to find in a ready state in nature. Hydrogen IS renewable. 100% renewable. We can make shitloads more of it, and you can't differentiate manufactured hydrogen from the stuff you'd find if we ever found it.

Unfortunately, renewable does not mean readily-available. It just means we can make more. All we need is an energy source. And that is the problem with hydrogen.

Hydrogen is, in essence, a battery with infinite recharges. You can separate it from water all day long, then burn it and re-integrate it with oxygen and have water again. It just takes shitloads of energy to separate it.

Hydrogen is not a freely-available fuel in any quantities that make a difference, but it is a completely renewable one. It is not, has never been, and will never be an energy source, but no renewable fuels are energy sources. They are ways to store energy in such a way that it can be practically used for fuel. You still need the energy.

Re:What is the idea (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385918)

All we need is an energy source. And that is the problem with hydrogen.

What's wrong with nuclear as an energy source? Nuclear could completely replace fixed sources of energy production that currently rely on carbon fuels. Hydrogen could be used for mobile applications where a nuclear reactor is not needed or feasible.

There's a perfectly green energy economy that would work with existing technology. All it needs are trillions of dollars of start-up capital and the willingness on the part of the country to rip up the existing fossil fuel infrastructure.

Re:What is the idea (5, Insightful)

rujholla (823296) | more than 4 years ago | (#33386000)

A "renewable" fuel is a fuel that we can make more of when we need it. It doesn't mean it's something we have to find in a ready state in nature. Hydrogen IS renewable. 100% renewable. We can make shitloads more of it, and you can't differentiate manufactured hydrogen from the stuff you'd find if we ever found it.

By your definition gasoline is also a renewable fuel source. CO2 can be combined with hydrogen and oxygen to build hydrocarbons. The simpler the hydrocarbon the easier it is, but once you have methane it is just more steps to more complex hydrocarbons. It just a matter of how much energy you are willing to spend to create it.

H can be generated from water and sunlight ... (2, Interesting)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385716)

with calling Hydrogen "renewable fuel"? It still has to be generated - and most of the energy we use to extract Hydrogen comes from burning fossil fuels ... But it's still lossy as fuck making hydrogen.

That is true today. However various universities are researching the generation of hydrogen using biological processes, organism + water + sunlight --> H.

Re:What is the idea (2, Informative)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385730)

The point is that we have nearly infinite supply. Hydrogen is effectively as renewable as the sun and all we need to do is process it.

As a side note making hydrogen is easy, it's a major by-product of a lot of a lot of refining processes. If there was money to be made from hydrogen so much of it probably wouldn't be sent up the flare, a process called economic flaring which everyone frowns upon when done with hydrocarbons, but no one cares less about since hydrogen burns quite cleanly.

Re:What is the idea (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385906)

It's better ti burn them in a centralized fashion.

More importantly, getting people used to other energy storage device is critical to ANY change in how we power are cars.

How do you put out a hydrogen fire? (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385402)

If the byproduct of a hydrogen fire is water, does it put itself out?

Does water do any good? The spray can both cool fire and reduce oxygen, but how does that work on a hydrogen fire?

Only half :-)

Re:How do you put out a hydrogen fire? (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385548)

Hydrogen has a tendency to explode, not to burn slowly like a common fuel fire, where only the vapors burn.

Danger is known (2, Interesting)

dmitriy (40004) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385408)

Behind Cisco campus in San Jose, there is a very nice trail running by a creek. This trail runs next to VTA bus depot that has a hydrogen fuelling station.

This trail has HUGE signs saying (someting like) HYDROGEN FUELING STATION - RUN AWAY IF ALARM ACTIVATED

Re:Danger is known (2, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385488)

What else would someone do upon hearing an alarm at a fueling station?

Re:Danger is known (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385670)

"Why would they run towards the explosion?"

Re:Danger is known (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385684)

Oh, I don't know. Run over and watch it blow up and burn?

Re:Danger is known (2, Insightful)

cygnwolf (601176) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385720)

Well it's obvious. When you hear alarms, you go see what all the commotion is about and see how in the way of emergency personnel you can get. Bonus points if they end up having to rescue you too.

Re:Danger is known (3, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385804)

What else would someone do upon hearing an alarm at a fueling station?

I'm sure some would reach for their phone/ipod to begin recording video.

Cause is under investigation? (1)

Meshach (578918) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385412)

FTFA:

The cause of the explosion is under investigation but Brooks says there are no indiciations it was anything other than an accident.

I am surprised that this type of an "accident" is able to occur. Did someone forget to cap something? Was someone smoking? I would hope that this kind of process would be somewhat failsafe.

Re:Cause is under investigation? (3, Funny)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385628)

Pretty sure you should go look up the definition of "accident" and get back to us...

Re:Cause is under investigation? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385762)

Under investigation?

Nope.. The guys stood around for awhile, sprayed some water on the ashes, and then;

"Ok fellas, that's good enough.. It's Miller Time"

Reminds me of when Perl was born (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385424)

There's been an explosion at the ascii factory
    /
  o /|\
/ \

Felt this from 2 miles away (3, Interesting)

Fwipp (1473271) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385426)

It was actually kind of scary, my whole office building felt & heard this from two miles away. I can't imagine what it would have been like to see up close.

It wasn't until a while later that we found out what had happened, though. Luckily, I hear that there was only one injury though.

Re:Felt this from 2 miles away (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385646)

Weird, I'm about 1.5 miles away and didn't feel / hear anything. Didn't even know it happened until I read this story on ./

Re:Felt this from 2 miles away (3, Informative)

echucker (570962) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385692)

Interesting.. I work 3 miles directly SE of the site, and knew nothing about it until I heard a traffic update on the radio at 3:30 on the way home.

Burger King worker? (2, Interesting)

dkuntz (220364) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385440)

I'm wondering how this BK worker got hurt... did she lean too far out of the window and fall?

Re:Burger King worker? (4, Informative)

Disgruntled Goats (1635745) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385514)

Considering the usual size of a BK worker, I'd be more worried about the ground being hurt if she fell out of the window.

Loud boom (1)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385452)

I was out to lunch when this occured. It sounded like a giant dump truck slamming it's trailer. Glad to hear everyone is okay.

Weird (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385454)

Is it just me or are they listing what was around the station more then information about the station itself. How did this truck blowup exactly, wouldn't you think a hydrogen truck would be specially outfitted to not in anyway be combustible.

Re:Weird (1)

boneclinkz (1284458) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385528)

Haven't you heard? Hydrogen is ultra-combustible-dangerous! Somebody on the sidewalk across the street probably lit up a cigarette. I imagine the trucker reaching out in slow-motion and screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo."

Re:Weird (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385588)

I know it is, thats my point. wouldn't the truck be secured in someway to make it near impossible to blowup.

Re:Weird (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385732)

Failures occur. Defects occur. Accidents occur. In engineering there is no such thing as perfection. Risk can only be mitigated, never eliminated entirely.

Hmm... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385466)

It must have been a rather interesting looking fire.

Unlike materials that contain their own oxidizers, pure hydrogen will do basically nothing outside of the conditions that the fusion kiddies are working with. It needs to mix with air first. However, it is also substantially lighter than air, and would thus rise fairly quickly out of any non-sealed area. If you had a big hydrogen leak, burning, you'd presumably have a rising column of hydrogen, gradually mushrooming, surrounded by localized pockets of combustion in areas where turbulence had created a critical mixture of fuel, air, and temperature. That must have been an odd sight.

The "explosion" bit suggests that either there are other chemicals on site in fair quantity(quite possible, if the hydrogen is being generated locally in some way) or somebody foolishly built a confined area for the hydrogen to build up in when it leaked...

Piss poor planning (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385470)

Turns out the hydrogen refueling facility was adjacent to an oxygen storage facility.

The zoning board is currently in hot water over this mistake.

Re:Piss poor planning (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385664)

Shoot... just posted a comment in this discussion... want to buy more funny mods!

Re:Piss poor planning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385734)

I imagine the fueling station is rather steamed by the whole situation as well.

Ever wonder why you work at BK? (1)

HungryMonkey (1887382) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385522)

"A 20-year-old female fast food employee was injured when she leaned out of a nearby Burger King drive-thru window to see what the explosion was." Nope, that answered that.

"Hard to see flames" (2, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385550)

No news yet if the hard to see flames of hydrogen combustion contributed to this delay.

So, you'd think if they went to the trouble of building this that the local fire department would have been involved and procured the necessary equipment, say a pair of night vision goggles so that a man on the truck could see the flames.

Outfitting each firefighter with the right training and equipment won't be cheap, but neither are ladder trucks.

Re:"Hard to see flames" (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385752)

Night vision goggles in broad daylight?

Re:"Hard to see flames" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385944)

Presumably, burning hydrogen doesn't give off the same distinctive orange/yellow/green/blue/white light that other combustibles do, but does still give off infrared (heat) radiation that would show up on the goggles.

Re:"Hard to see flames" (2, Informative)

brainboyz (114458) | more than 4 years ago | (#33386026)

Infrared goggles, not amplified light goggles. Both can be considered "night vision" as they allow vision in low-light situations.

Re:"Hard to see flames" (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385848)

The airport's Fire Rescue squad responded first, maybe they didn't get the training. You'd think they'd give it to all likely first responders, but who knows. Government bureaucracy is often about doing the minimum you can: "Huh, regulation says we gotta get special training and equipment for the Fire Dept... what's minimum we can spend doing that and still be legal?"

Course the submitter was just speculating, so maybe that wasn't eh problem at all.

Better than gas fire! (1)

Kagato (116051) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385660)

Hydrogen burns in a much more controlled manor compared to gasoline. So I'm not surprised they took a bit of a wait and see attitude.

Here's the station - a hydrogen boondoggle (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385718)

The fueling station has a web site. [greenmonroe.org] They offer hydrogen, compressed natural gas, bio-diesel, and ethanol options.

Only one (1) vehicle used hydrogen from that station - a fuel cell powered 2008 Chevy Equinox [chevrolet.com] from GM's now-concluded "Project Driveway".

Re:Here's the station - a hydrogen boondoggle (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385810)

"Hydrogen boondoggle"? You fool! You Luddite! You latte-drinking bisexual socialist! Hydrogen is the energy source of the future and always will be! In the future there will be a Hydrogen Economy! We'll use it for everything! Radios! Laptops! Cell phones! Everything will have a hydrogen fuel cell, not just cars! We'll mine the asteroids! Get our asses to Mars! Get off this rock! We'll... We'll...

etc etc

Almost certainly the tank failed mechanically (2, Interesting)

Thagg (9904) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385776)

The Equinox fuel-cell vehicles have three high-pressure tanks, that can be filled up to 10,000 psi (more than 3x what a SCUBA tank pressure is)

One of those tanks failing will make a big boom! The fire, if there was one, would probably burn out almost immediately, as the hydrogen will disperse quickly and then got straight up fast.

There's a nice bit in "Dark Sun" about filling the Ivy Mike device with dueterium. All the leftover was burned, and made a roaring news but didn't have any visible fire.

Thad

oh man! (1)

CodemasterMM (943136) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385786)

kind of crazy. I remember driving past here a few times not too long ago. I wonder what exactly happened during refueling that triggered the explosion (as it's not covered in the article).

Conspiracy (1)

X_DARK_X (1881648) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385798)

Obviously this bombing was staged to incite more fears amongst general public about the use of alternative energy methods. +1 Big Oil.

Please, oh, please, oh, please.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33385816)

let this be the beginning of the end of talk of hydrogen being a practical replacement for gasoline. The general public really has no idea how dangerous hydrogen is, and once they do, its prospects are dead.

Where are the stats??? (4, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#33385872)

I would love to know if this is newsworthy, unfortunately, they did not give us the important details. For example, what percentage of gasoline stations have fires in any year, and how many other hydrogen refueling stations of this type exist. Without that information we have no idea if this is a far greater risk or a far lesser risk.
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