It's inevitable that any discussion about hydrogen-power cars takes a turn towards the "... and just where are we going to get all that hydrogen from?" angle in about 30 seconds.. Researchers in Israel may have taken us one step closer to answering that question. They've developed a process where zinc ore is heated in the presence of charcoal via solar energy and smelted into elemental zinc powder. That powder can then be reacted with water to form hydrogen and zinc oxide, which is returned back to the start of the process. The powder can also be stored for future use, or used to create electricity just like a zinc-air hearing-aid battery. This allows the capture of solar energy without using expensive solar cells, but without knowing the efficiency of the process it's a bit difficult to determine the commercial viability. The construction of a production plant might be possible within 6-8 years, which is certainly encouraging.

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