This year's big James Bond
flick, Quantum of Solace, had a distinct hydrogen
theme through and through. Starting with the redesigned Ford Ka that was emblazoned with hydrogen stickers
- even though Ford
doesn't actually, and as far as we know isn't planning to, make hydrogen versions of any of its production machines. The hydrogen party didn't end there, though. Later in the movie, the bad guy's entire lair was fueled on hydrogen gas, and the entire building ended up incinerating itself in a Hindenburg-style disaster at the very end. Of course, Mr. Bond and his stunning co-star, ably played by Olga Kurylenko
, managed to escape the raging inferno in time. Dramatic? Yes, absolutely. Realistic? Unfortunately not.
Keith Ross, a professor at Salford University who's studying hydrogen's role as a petroleum replacement, finds this climactic finale a bit disturbing. He says, "I was perturbed to watch the James Bond film's climax. It was unrealistic and may perpetuate the fear that hydrogen should be avoided. Although potentially explosive in a confined space, the fuel can be handled quite safely. If released into the open air, hydrogen would only burn with a blue flame – a fact obviously of no interest to a film-maker! Like the famous photographs of the Hindenburg disaster, the scene's images could well stick in the public's consciousness." A quantum-sized concern or much ado about nothing?