Hysteria over Hydrogen Fueling Station in San Francisco

Well, it’s hard to say that cooler heads are prevailing at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in regard to the proposed hydrogen fueling station. The airport director envisions an apocalyptic Armageddon scenario if a mishap were to happen to a fueling station that has not yet been built.

According to the Mercury News, “Now that negotiations have broken off with the would-be operator of the station at the southwest corner of SFO, the Airport Commission is slated to vote Tuesday on whether to kill the project. In a report to commissioners, Airport Director John Martin advocated dumping the roughly $3 million endeavor.

“Martin says Linde LLC rejected airport officials’ demand to accept full legal responsibility for any mishaps on the wedge-shaped site near Millbrae Avenue. At the same time, airport officials were left feeling skittish after the Pacific Gas & Electric natural gas line blast in San Bruno, hydrogen detonations at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan and the fireball during a May hydrogen leak at an AC Transit facility in Emeryville.”

Okay, so let’s get this straight. First there is a natural gas line blast and the reaction to this is to squash the opening of a hydrogen fueling station. Second a tsunami hits Japan causing damage to a nuclear power plant and the reaction is to squash the opening of a hydrogen fueling station. Third, there is a hydrogen leak at an AC Transit facility and the reaction to this is to squash the opening of a hydrogen fueling station at the airport. There was in fact a fire at AC Transit but no one was hurt during this incident.

Putting a hydrogen fueling station at an airport is not unique. In 2004, then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger drove a Hydrogen Hummer to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in which an H2 fueling station was opened there and has operated without incident ever since.

Worldwide there are many hydrogen vehicles and hydrogen fueling stations at airports operating without incident. It’s too bad that the SFO airport director wants to fear monger using images of dirigibles exploding in the 1920’s in order to axe this project that has been in the works since 2009. Let’s hope that between now and the vote next Tuesday cooler heads will once again prevail.

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