Hydrogen faces a number of challenges when it comes to supplanting gasoline as the world's transportation fuel of choice, one of the largest of which was underscored by two small explosions at a Rochester, New York refueling station yesterday. According to reports, two people were injured when a spark ignited the fuel during a tank exchange. Praxair driver Robert Scruggs was transported to Strong Hospital with second-degree burns to his hands and face as a result of the incident, and a female Burger King employee was treated for ear pain in connection with the explosions.
According to local news outlets, Praxair is a supplier for General Motors' fleet of hydrogen vehicles, which refuel at the Rochester station. Autoblog has contacted GM to confirm that this is the same station that the company's fuel-cell
The Greater Rochester International Airport was closed for about 50 minutes due the explosions, and some flights were diverted mid-air while authorities sorted out the cause of the incident. Click on the YNN link below for local news video coverage, as well as on the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle for more information.
*Update: GM spokesperson Scott Fossgard said that the company's fleet of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles have logged over 1.6 million miles with over 16,000 hydrogen fill ups by over 800 drivers. In all of that time, the company has never had an incident like the one in Rochester. While the GM fleet uses the filling station to top off its vehicles this incident did not involve any of GM's vehicles, personnel or customers.
[Sources: YNN, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle]