Hindenburg, Addison Bain, PH.D.
Before now, no party addressed obvious specific accounts of the Hindenburg accident that should have required further explanation. In detective-like fashion, the author uncovers these historical errors of omission and uses his considerable expertise as a NASA scientist/engineer and Hindenburg researcher to set the record straight.
Purpose of the Research
That Day at Lakehurst
Building a Case
Bad Rap for Hydrogen
The German Perspective
Addressing Public Statements
Compilation of Significant Events
The New Label
Claims, Critics, Lies and Hoaxes
Some Loose Ends
Research Reflections and Memorabilia
Addison Bain, Hindenburg: exploring the truth, Blue Note Publications, Softcover, 251 pp., color, $39.95, ISBN 978-0- 9903068-0-1. Dr. Bain has provided a unique and essential service to the hydrogen/fuel cell community. Those of us in the engineering profession who believe that hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are the best option for a future sustainable transportation system can write detailed computer programs to demonstrate that fuel cell electric vehicles will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, oil consumption and local air pollution more than any other alternative vehicle such as battery electric vehicles, natural gas vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, etc. But consumers might still be inhibited from buying FCEVs if they have an inherent fear of hydrogen, whether due to the association of hydrogen with hydrogen bombs or the catastrophic destruction of the Hindenburg dirigible at Lakehurst, New Jersey, in May of 1937. Refuting the hydrogen bomb connection is trivial, since a hydrogen bomb requires two ingredients that will never be present on a passenger vehicle: an atomic bomb and the heavy isotopes of hydrogen, tritium and deuterium, but the Hindenburg disaster has no such easily explanation. So future car buyers might still be inhibited from purchasing an FCEV based on lingering doubts about hydrogen's role in the Hindenburg disaster. This is where Dr. Bain's multi-decade exhaustive investigation of the Hindenburg tragedy is so valuable to the future of the world's best option for a clean, sustainable transportation system. Dr. Bain's investigation began when he saw a simplistic plaque in the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. that stated that “hydrogen caused” the Hindenburg accident. Dr. Bain was in a unique position to refute this indictment of hydrogen as the “cause” of the Hindenburg disaster. As a scientist with many decades of experience at NASA, he knew that hydrogen cannot “cause” a fire by itself, since it lacks two essential ingredients for a fire: oxygen and an ignition source. So he began visiting several dozen individuals who were either at Lakehurst on that fateful day or were involved with the design and manufacture of the dirigible. He also began collecting bits and pieces of the Hindenburg and had them analyzed in various NASA laboratories. Dr. Bain's latest book summarizes all of his findings in his long, multi-decade investigation of the Hindenburg disaster. He also addresses several critics of his analysis on the Hindenburg accident. But he does so in his characteristic gentlemanly and courteous manner. One critic stated in his assessment of Dr. Bain's publications that Bain claimed that hydrogen played no role in the Hindenburg failure. But this is not true, even in his first book “The Freedom Element: Living with Hydrogen” published in 2004, Dr. Bain stated that “there was a lot of energy created in a short period of time before hydrogen as a fuel got into the act” and later, “hydrogen is then released and mixed with air; some of it ignites adding to the fireball.” And in his latest book, “The Hindenburg: exploring the Truth,” he states that “Of course hydrogen became a significant element in the inferno.” Despite this critics' grossly inaccurate description of Bain's publications, Dr. Bain does not try to refute the faulty arguments by the critic, but instead states that this particular critic's analysis is “a fine work of effort.” Hydrogen has all the characteristics of an environmentally sustainable motor vehicle fuel: it produces no air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions when burned in a fuel cell that essentially converts hydrogen to clean electricity; it can be produced locally from many sources eliminating the need to import energy from unstable regions of the world to power our transportation system, and the cost to produce hydrogen for a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) is less per mile of vehicle travel than the cost to produce gasoline or diesel fuel for a conventional car. So Dr. Bain's exhaustive analysis of the Hindenburg catastrophe is needed to assure future FCEV drivers that their cars will be as safe if not safer than conventional gasolinepowered cars … Thank you Dr. Bain! While not all future automobile buyers will have the patience and/or technical ability to digest Dr. Bain's exhaustive tome, his book should become the backbone of any future analysis of the safety of hydrogen as an automobile fuel. I would highly recommend Bain's book to all future students and decision-makers in the fields of energy and the environment, as well as any of the public at large that might be concerned about the safety of hydrogen as a motor fuel. C.E. (Sandy) Thomas* Former President (ret.) of H2Gen Innovations, Inc. of Alexandria, 2941 Viewpoint Road, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA *Tel.: þ1 703 507 8149. E-mail address: email@example.com Available online xxx 0360-3199/$ e see front matter http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhydene.2014.10.113 Available online at www.sciencedirect.com ScienceDirect journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/he i n t e r n a t i onal journal o f hydrogen energy xxx ( 2 0 1 4 ) 1
Reading through your thorough research of historic and scientific data/analysis, I now have a greater understanding of the circumstances and conditions that were possible contributors to the tragic loss of the D-LZ Hindenburg.
John M. Mellberg, AERO-AUTO Aficionado
Paperback, 8 1/4 X 10, 252 Pages with photos