Letter: “Fertilizer and fuel”

Mr. Oja’s article “Fertilizer and fuel” on May 25 extolling the virtues of using anhydrous ammonia as a source of hydrogen to fuel cars was technologically interesting, however, it fails to point out just how dangerous the product is to handle. It takes special training, protective clothing, an instantly available water supply in case of contact. This product is used by farmers because it is a very cheap source of nitrogen and is readily absorbed into the soil making it easy for plants to take up. NH3 is extremely toxic and will cause blindness, skin burns, destroy lungs just as starters. Not something the self serve gas stations could ever employ. Those nice white tanks farmers pull are used with extreme care by the farmers that use them and the trained delivery men. A vehicle carrying NH3 involved in an accident would be very dangerous. If the accident didn’t kill them the anhydrous ammonia probably would as it escaped.

I have used this product in the past and almost died one night when an equipment failure caused a release of the gas. This is not a product to turn loose on the public.

As with all things scientific, what is possible technically, is not always safely adapted to every day application.

Wayne Arrison, Red Deer

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