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Dangers of hydrogen

October 2, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 40

As a chemical engineer who has many years' experience with the manufacture of hydrogen, I think that it is undesirable to use hydrogen as a car fuel (C&EN, June 5, page 50). I am not concerned with the manufacturing part, although it is important that this step is energy positive and that all safety aspects are being addressed. My concern is the use of hydrogen in an automobile. All connections of hydrogen lines are easily subject to leakage that can have disastrous results. I am personally aware of two instances in plants producing hydrogen where in one case leaks caused an explosion, killing six workers, and in both cases caused fires that resulted in three-week shutdowns of the facilities.

Rudolph Pick
Pompano Beach, Fla.

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