Serendipity: Did cheap hydrogen just become a reality?

Cheap and clean hydrogen now a reality? New science suggests that hydrogen nut has been cracked. Coupled with cheaper fuel cells that that use as much platinum as a conventional car, and the hydrogen economy might just have become real.

Maybe automakers were wise to keep building fuel cell vehicles

Revenge of the fuel cell hybrid?

When I started Hybridcarblog, I was a fan of fuel cell cars. In fact it was the correlation between the Toyota Prius and fuel cell hybrids that excited me about the potential of hybrid technology. Over time; however, fuel cell vehicles started to seem more like a distraction, an excuse to maintain the status quo until some magical breakthrough was achieved – if ever achieved. Besides, with plug-in hybrids nearing reality, fuel cells seemed far less necessary.

In the last few years, however, fuel cell technological breakthroughs have been hard to ignore. Still, while fuel cells began to seem ever more plausible, clean and green hydrogen seemed a very tough nut to crack.

Until today.

“It’s a perfect illustration of the famous serendipity principle in fundamental research. Thanks to this unexpected result, we’ve revealed a unique phenomenon,” notes Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Professor Xile Hu regarding an ‘accidental' discovery of new catalysts that enable the production of hydrogen from water at room temperature without any expensive catalysts like platinum or massive amounts of energy. The result is “inexpensive and efficient” hydrogen production according to GreenCarCongress.

Even better the science is still new and not fully understood, leaving open the door that even greater and cheaper efficiencies are still possible.

Couple this breakthrough with new fuel cells that can use less platinum than a conventional car and the possibililty of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles might have just become an undeniable reality.

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