Driving is dangerous, which is why road rules need to be strictly followed. But some of the risks actually come from within your vehicle, such as the fuel that being used. Gasoline is highly combustible and doesn’t easily escape. This is why car manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to make a vehicle safer to use. The new buzzword today is hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (FCV).
Why is hydrogen a safer option?
Despite the bad rep it had, after the LZ 129 Hindenburg, the hydrogen-filled airship, exploded in 1937, hydrogen fuel cells are proven to be less harmful than gasoline. If a tank gets punctured, it will instantaneously dissipate, as it is 16 times lighter than air. A punctured gasoline tank, on the other hand, will leak out gas and leave a trail that can catch fire.
Tanks that house hydrogen are also made of carbon fiber that is highly durable. In fact, their strength assessment included bullets fired at the tanks. In the case of Toyota, the hydrogen tanks they used have 3 layers of woven carbon fiber and then lined internally with plastic. During extreme crash and bullet testing, the tanks survived. To determine how far the tanks will go, the company had to use armor-piercing bullets and shot the same place where other pullets just bounced.
Aside from safety, hydrogen is also widely available. It is found in almost every substance in existence, from water to biomass, such as animals and plants. But even if the source is limitless, the separation process can be costly. There is also a lack of infrastructure where hydrogen can be extracted. There are no hydrogen filling stations available either, which would be another thing to worry about if FCVs do catch on. But there is no question that hydrogen fuel is safer than gasoline.