Hydrogen fuel station explodes in Norway; Toyota and Hyundai pause fuel cell vehicle sales06/12/2019
A hydrogen fuel station exploded in Sandvika, Norway, on Monday, and because of it fuel supplier Nel has closed 10 more stations in the country. As a result, both Toyota and Hyundai have issued stop-sales of their hydrogen vehicles. Norway’s hydrogen fueling infrastructure is more robust than here in the U.S., leading to more sales of fuel cell cars there.
The explosion forced authorities to cordon off a 500-meter zone around the station, which thankfully, no one was near when the blast happened. There were two reported injuries, both drivers whose airbags went off because of the concussion. The operating company says it’s too early to tell what caused the problem.
“I heard a big bang. We were on the beach at Henie Onstad Art Center just across the bay and heard a horrible bang. Then white smoke overturned from the station,” Monica Lid told local media.
According to Electrive, two experts have flown in from Denmark to advise in the upcoming investigation.
This won’t be the death knell for the fuel, but hydrogen does have its drawbacks, besides being flammable (hydrogen gas can burn in air at wide concentrations — between 4 and 75 percent). It also takes another energy source, whether green and renewable or fossil fuel-based, to separate it from oxygen. Plus, it’s harder to store and transport than gasoline and oil.
However, it is clean and efficient. Fuel cell vehicles are basically electric cars with onboard tanks that can be quickly refilled at hydrogen stations rather than batteries that must be plugged in and recharged, which is part of what makes the technology so promising.
Hopefully, this incident, like others involving traditional fossil fuels, leads to better, safer ways to store, transport and use it.
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