Does the hydrogen fuel explosion of a transport truck worry you?February 11, 2023 8 By Alicia Moore
A vehicle transporting H2 recently exploded when it crashed in Ohio, making some question safety.
Last week, a hydrogen fuel explosion drew international attention when a semi-truck carrying the H2 was involved in a crash and blew up on the road.
The incident involved a collision between the truck and one other vehicle, causing the H2 to blow.
According to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the hydrogen fuel explosion from the truck completely burned the traffic light at the crash site, which was located in Delaware County at the intersection near Gooding Boulevard and Orange Point Drive. They expect that it will be weeks before that traffic light will be replaced and operational again.
Reports from the Ohio State Highway Patrol said that as the vehicles were moving through the intersection, a car collided with the truck carrying the H2. The truck had been carrying 420 kilograms of H2 in tanks contained in the trailer. As a result of the collision, the tanks ignited and caught fire. The vehicle burned and damaged the nearby traffic signals as well as the utility lines.
The nature of the hydrogen fuel explosion has some people feeling nervous about the safety of H2.
Reports from crews responding to another call at the time of the event said that they saw the fire and that the explosion occurred about 30 seconds after the crash. This, according to Nathan McNeil, the Orange Township Fire Chief. McNeil added that as H2 burns essentially invisibly, the company that owned the truck used thermal imaging cameras to ensure that the burning had ceased so they would know when the crash site was safe.
“They are going through with a thermal engine camera to make sure the temperatures are low,” said McNeil. “They are taking a look at the tanks, making sure there is no possibility that another fire could start.”
In the footage, it is seen how the H2 carrying trailer is venting fast and straight up as opposed to the gas filled truck which is engulfed in flames.
As H2 becomes an increasingly promising clean energy option, it is clear that safety will be among the main issues upon which experts will be focusing on everything from its production to its storage, transportation and use. Much like with gasoline carrying trucks, there are challenges with transporting any fuel.
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Hydrogen should be stored using metal hydride ( Safe and takes up less space or transported as Ammonia but then its toxic. Another option is to put safety valves in the top of the tankers and release the gas on impact ( I will go up and not spill on the Ground ).
When a hydrogen storage tank has a breakage the hydrogen immediately vents UP. Gasoline is the opposite. Gasoline is heavier than air and seeks level with ground. This ground cloud travels which ever way the wind is blowing. Watched a man, pinned in his vehicle. burn to death in a gasoline fire. He would have had a much greater chance for life if his energy source vented straight up. Florida Turnpike many years ago.
All forms of energy have risk elements. This incident clearly illustrates a risk element similar to transporting gasoline performed daily on roads and highways worldwide.
When a petrol tanker is involved in an accident and blows up, especially through no problem intrinsic to the fuel being carried, nobody questions the future of oil. So those questioning the future of hydrogen based on this are not being consistent or fair.
I couldnt agree with you more. More tankers carrying oil products are more likely to explode in a much larger scale during accidents like this. This reports only shows bias. Hydrogen is the future, it is clean and green,and no one can stop this technology from going mainstream in the years to come.
Lighter-than-air hydrogen vented to the amosphere very rapidly goes straight up. Leaked gasoline creates vapor that is heavier than air and when ignited will engulf anything that is near the ground. Transporting hydgrogen, in tanker trucks or vehicles, will prove to be much safer than gasoline or natural gas. An ammonia leak gathers at ground level but quickly rises when it diffuses.
The crash picture explains all perfectly. Same as Hindenburg with hydrogen’s colorless flame going straight up while the heavy hydrocarbon coated shell (used to contain the volatile H2) is crashing to the ground in a hot ball of flames. The truck accident should not have been called a hydrogen explosion. Free gasoline vapor will explode but hydrogen will vent and disperse. Metal hydrides for hydrogen storage is still a work in process but will be a good option in many cases. Advanced carbon fiber tanks now being used for all fuel cell vehicles have been held to a much higher standard than gas tanks and are therefore much safer.
Jim Horwitz, Fuel Cell Intelligence
No. I am not nervous at all. We currently transport many worse chemicals with explosive potential. Hydrogen is safer than most types of fuel. In the video the gas is venting upward and dissipating in the air. Any fuel will burn in an accident but how it burns and what toxic pollution it leaves behind is important. Hydrogen poses the least risk, it burns to combine with oxygen and the result is water. As hydrogen gains popularity technology used in transporting it will also improve. Hydrogen produced with renewable energy is very clean.