Hydrogen Refueling Station Explodes In Rochester, NY

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
hydrogen refueling station explodes in rochester ny

YNN reports that the Rochester, NY airport was closed for 50 minutes yesterday, when a hydrogen refueling station run by GM supplier Praxair was rocked by two giant explosions. Details of the explosion are still extremely sketchy, with YNN explaining only that

Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said it occurred during a tank exchange operation. Brooks said a driver from Praxair was doing the exchange when it appears that some type of arch occurred.

It’s not yet clear if GM’s Sequel hydrogen test fleet had been using the fueling station, but this is the most recent occurrence of the kind of disaster that has helped prevent the development of a large-scale hydrogen infrastructure. Two people were reportedly injured in the blast, but one can only imagine the result of such an explosion in a more urban environment, or in close proximity to a gasoline pumping station. The long awaited hydrogen future may have just slipped a little further out of reach…

Join the conversation
6 of 45 comments
  • Dimwit Dimwit on Aug 27, 2010

    Betcha the lock wasn't properly engaged for fueling. A spill, a spark and we have liftoff!! All the liquid gases have the same weakness, we're forcing it out of its natural state and it's not stable. I'd rather stick with the fuels we have now.

  • Steven02 Steven02 on Aug 27, 2010

    I don't know if this is going to start an end to hydrogen as a fuel, but I would hope not. There are several gasoline fires a day. Natural gas has had a few bad explosions. There have been a few documented nuclear incidents as well. All of these are still in use today and will likely continue. I wouldn't think that hydrogen will be much different.

  • Porschespeed Porschespeed on Aug 27, 2010

    Steven02, Exactly. There was a Sinclair station about 1000 feet away from my parents' condo about 20 years ago. Long story short, propane-fired heater feed pipe developed a leak. (For some reason the propane was left on in the summer, but I digress...) Smoking mechanic made it go 'boom'. Interestingly enough, no fatalities. The gas station was reduced to toothpicks and rubble. My parents got new windows and sliding glass door on the backside of their condo. No one suggested abandoning gasoline or propane. Ever. Cost of doing business. That's life.

    • See 1 previous
    • PeriSoft PeriSoft on Aug 29, 2010

      Fewer people survived, that's for sure. Product safety and food safety regs are incredibly useful. We just don't tend to think about them; we buy a washing machine or a toaster with a good idea they won't maim us or burn down our house. In the '20s, as a girl, my grandmother got her arm dragged through a washing machine wringer... Crushed it flat. She never got most movement back. Those machines were horribly unsafe, but they were the only kind available. So... Yeah, there are wishy-washy wimpy regulations, but without them we'd never know what products would electrocute us due to a design flaw, or what food would sicken us due to lax preparation. We take all the positive results for granted, and then bitch about how we're wimpy because of the very few absurd outliers...

  • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Aug 28, 2010

    Hydrogen's "Hindenburg Omen"?