Prospects for the future

­ You will hear more and more about the hydrogen economy in the news in the co­ming months, because the drumbeat is growing louder. The environmental problems of the fossil fuel economy are combining with breakthroughs in fuel-cell technology, and the pairing will allow us to take the first steps.

The most obvious step we will see is the marketing of fuel-cell-powered vehicles. Although they will be powered initially by gasoline and reformers, fuel cells embody two major improvements over the internal combustion engine:

  • They are about twice as efficient.
  • They can significantly reduce air pollution in cities.
Gasoline-powered fuel-cell vehicles are an excellent transitional step because of those advantages.

Moving to a pure hydrogen economy will be harder. The power-generating plants will have to switch over to renewable sources of energy, and the marketplace will have to agree on ways to store and transport hydrogen. These hurdles will likely cause the transition to the hydrogen economy to be a rather long process.

To learn more about the hydrogen economy and the technologies surrounding it, check out the links on the next page.