(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 LPG tanks.
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