Hydrogen Cars Could Melt Tunnels, Ruin Day

Illustration for article titled Hydrogen Cars Could Melt Tunnels, Ruin Day

While a hydrogen-fueled future seems perfect, it might not seem so great if it results in a jet flame heading towards you at a high velocity. According to researchers/buzzkills at the University of Sheffield, a computer simulation of a hydrogen car crashing inside a tunnel revealed some not-so-fantastic side effects. Whereas gasoline leaks onto the ground and then ignites, hydrogen would escape into the air as a 2000 °C flame that would extend out for many meters (likely straight up).

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This would result in some serious damage to the tunnel's ceilings and fire-suppression system. Reps for BMW pointed out that the fuel tank of their prototype hydrogen 7-series has never been breached, which sounds like a challenge to me. [New Scientist]

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DISCUSSION

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But I bet it would be very entertaining at the drag strip. Wanna set

a new 1/4 mile record? Line the car up, point a shotgun at the hydrogen

tank, when the light turns green, shoot and then run away really fast.

Hopefully for the driver, he'll be going fast enough that the flames will stay behind the car.