(7 November 2008, Malaysia) In the town of Batu Berendam, near Malacca,
Mohd H. was killed by an explosion while filling his van's tank with
compressed natural gas (CNG) at a petrol station. What made the normally
routine process of fueling a vehicle go so badly wrong?
In most Malaysian households, LPG (liquid petrolem gas) is purchased in
tanks for use as a cooking gas, instead of being drawn from a pipeline to
the house as is common in America. The problem was that the man had
converted his van to use CNG fuel by hooking up an LPG cooking gas
tank, rather than having the vehicle properly converted.
LPG tanks and CNG tanks are very different. LPG is a liquid; CNG is a
compressed gas. CNG tanks must be able to contain 100x more pressure than
Mohd's need to economise on fuel was driven by practical reasons. The
self-employed electrician ran a family business involving the repair and
resale of second-hand electrical appliances. This business required
frequent travel to Singapor and Johor, and much would be saved by
converting the van to use a more economical fuel.
Since 25-year-old Mohd was knowledgeable about machinery, he decided to do
it himself. The LPG tank had been installed beneath the driver's seat, and
the explosion shattered the front portion of the vehicle and blew out two
of its doors, killing the unwitting creator of the car bomb.
Darwin says, "We are divided about whether to give this man a Darwin
Award. Local news reports indicate that inept DIY vehicle conversions are
a national problem fueled by a lack of knowledge about combustion
differences between CNG and LPG. On the other hand, this skilled
electrician was handy with tools, and knowledgeable about machinery. Was he
an engineer of his own demise, or simply a victim of circumstance?"
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Submitted by: Xenobiologista
Reference: The Malaysian Insider