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Friday, January 22, 2010

Hydrogen Safety Part IV



The Hindenburg


The fire that destroyed the Hindenburg in 1937 gave hydrogen a

misleading reputation. Hydrogen was used to keep the airship

buoyant and was initially blamed for the disaster. An investigation

by Addison Bain in the 1990s provided evidence that the airship's

fabric envelope was coated with reactive chemicals, similar to

solid rocket fuel, and was easily ignitable by an electrical

discharge. The Zeppelin Company, builder of the Hindenburg,

has since confirmed that the flammable, doped outer cover is to

be blamed for the fire.

Hydrogen Codes and Standards

Codes and standards help dictate safe building and installation

practices. Today, hydrogen components must follow strict guidelines

and undergo third party testing for safety and structural integrity.

Summary

Industry has developed new safety designs and equipment because

hydrogen's properties and behavior are different than the fuels we

use now. Hydrogen will make us re-think operating practices already

in place for gaseous and liquid fuels. Education of those differences

is the key enabler to making hydrogen a consumer-handled fuel

that we use safely and responsibly.

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