Severity
Near-Miss
Leak
No
Ignition
No

A student cleaned catalyst that was being used for a fuel cell membrane electrode assembly from a spatula. He then placed the contaminated paper towel into a waste container that contained other waste that was wet with alcohol. The alcohol reacted with the catalyst, igniting a fire within the waste container. The fire was extinguished with a beaker of water.

Incident Date
Feb 28, 2008
Setting
Equipment
  • Hydrogen Production/Use Systems
  • Fuel Cell
Damage and Injuries
Probable Cause
Contributing Factors
When Incident Discovered
Lessons Learned

A step was added to the laboratory procedure in which all catalyst waste is thoroughly dampened with water and sealed in a plastic bag before being placed into a waste container.