The Olympic Hydrogen SAPS

In a previous comment I mentioned how the government had closed down the filling station, near the Olympic park that was refueling the Olympic fleet of hydrogen powered taxi’s, due to “security concerns”. Instead they’d taken to sending the taxi’s on a 150 mile round trip (on the back of a lorry!) to Swindon to be filled up. Now I’m all one for the environment, but it would be cheaper and produce less carbon emissions if they just switched to standard taxis.

However, it gets worse. I was moving cylinders of hydrogen over the week and it was pointed out to me that the safest place for the hydrogen is within the fuel tanks of the cars. Why? Because they are ballistic tanks made from Kevlar. Consequently if any wannabe Jihadi did decide to try shooting up the hydrogen tanks, in all probability the major safety risk would be the risk of him being hit by the bullets ricocheting off the tanks!

Also, as I’ve pointed out before, hydrogen isn’t as dangerous as you’d think, as it tends to burn upwards (while petrol is a liquid and can stick to surfaces when it burns). Indeed tests comparisons have generally concluded that these kevlar reinforced hydrogen tanks are safer than gasoline tanks.

The bulk of the casualties from the Hindenburg were probably the result of falls and the fire spreading to the diesel tanks, or crew high up in the ship at their landing posts. Its likely the crew of Challenger survived the explosion of the shuttle’s hydrogen tanks, only to expire as a result of the sudden drop in air pressure (inexplicably in these early shuttle missions, they didn’t wear space suits!) or the impact with the ocean several minutes later. Consequently if this hydrogen garage is too dangerous, then every garage within 5 miles of an Olympic venue should also now be shut for the duration of the games (hint, that would close most of the ones in London!).

So in short, what happened here was some ill informed, inept, safe-ass, who’d watched one too many James bond films (and thinks that hydrogen tanks blow up in a massive spectacular fireball) decided that the hydrogen fuel station was dangerous and closed it all down. He/they clearly did not consult with anyone who actually knew anything about hydrogen, they just made an arbitrary heavy handed decision and not wanting to loose face tacked on this ridiculous policy of shipping the taxi’s around by truck. Again, it is a classic case of SAPS (Save Ass Policy Scheme) in action.


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