Hydrogen Safety

Like all fuels, hydrogen has inherent hazards and must be handled carefully. However, hydrogen has gained an undeserved reputation as a highly dangerous substance. In fact, hydrogen has been used for years in industrial processes and as a fuel by NASA, and has earned an excellent safety record. "Town gas," a near 50-50 mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, was also widely used earlier in this century before it was replaced by natural gas. A recent study suggests the Hindenburg accident was not caused by a hydrogen explosion. It was likely caused by paint used on the skin of the airship, which contained the same component as rocket fuel.

Safe practices in the production, storage, distribution, and use of hydrogen are essential components of a hydrogen economy. A catastrophic failure in any hydrogen project could irreparably damage the entire transition strategy. Like most energy carriers, however, hydrogen can be handled and used safely with appropriate sensing, handling, and engineering measures.

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