Many people are concerned with the safety of fuel cell vehicles. After all consumers aren’t used to gassing up with hydrogen fuel like they are gasoline and don’t fully know how the safety issues of one fuel compares to another.
People in general know that hydrogen is a flammable and combustible gas and even film footage of the Hindenburg accident may flash through one’s head thinking about this issue. Even knowing that hydrogen was not the culprit in this dramatic accident does little to quiet one’s fears.
And consumers do have a right to be concerned about any gas that is compressed from 5,000 to 10,000 psi and what would happen if there were a leak. This is why a company called American Sensor Technologies has developed a new hydrogen pressure sensor to detect leaks in fuel cell vehicles. The company has been developing hydrogen sensors for a while for both onboard and off board vehicle uses.
But, it is not only important that all of the components of a fuel cell system including hydrogen fuel tanks, valves, lines, fuel cell stacks and other components be leak-proof, but it is also important that the sensors that measure H2 are also sturdy and resistant to degradation as well.
According to the American Sensor Technologies , “To overcome hydrogen permeability and embrittlement, the AST 2000H2 Hydrogen Pressure Sensors employ a one-piece thick diaphragm, free of internal O-rings, welds or fill fluids, that keep hazardous media out, eliminating the chance of hydrogen permeation and eventual sensor failure. To reduce the chance of embrittlement caused by long-term exposure to hydrogen, units are constructed from a version of high strength 316L stainless steel wetted parts that promote long life and resistance to media corrosion. AST’s proprietary Krystal Bond Technology further enhances performance by reducing long-term drift to just 0.25-percent per year. The technology also utilizes an inorganic bond, free from glue line failure and outgassings.”
So, what this means is that the sensors and systems in place that detect hydrogen leaks are designed not to fail to insure vehicle safety of H2 autos going forward. If sensors and systems are in place to insure that only very safe hydrogen vehicles are produced and sold, then there will be little to stall the industry going forward.
Even though there has been a hydrogen auto totaled in an accident, no one was hurt or injured and all onboard hydrogen safety systems worked perfectly. It is this kind of safety record we will need to keep for this emerging technology to make it into full steam ahead production.