There are many stumbling blocks when it comes to the successful use of hydrogen as an energy carrier for automobiles. Among those stumbling blocks is figuring out how to extract hydrogen in an environmentally friendly and cost effective manner, how to transport that hydrogen and subsequently refill a car with it, and where to put it once you've successfully managed to get around the first two. General Motors is working on the issues, as Sam recently reported. Universities all over the world are also attacking the problems, including Cardiff University in the U.K. Professor Neil McKeown and others are working on a new polymer which needs to be porous enough to be lightweight, but also must be tight enough to keep the hydrogen inside. They have doubled the amount of hydrogen their polymer could store by weight and are still testing other variations. They are halfway to their goal of storing six percent hydrogen by weight.
It should be noted that the prospect of having hydrogen-fueled vehicles in the hands of real paying customers in large quantities is still likely a long way off. Modern technology is capable of creating electric vehicles using hydrogen as their fuel source, but not in the necessary quantities and not nearly at the efficiency level required to make them financially viable. But, the same could be said for most other high-tech items that we all use today, and with a few breakthroughs, there might come a day when your electric car uses a hydrogen-fueled range-extender. Or not. We'll just have to wait and see. Let the comments start... now!
[Source: Cardiff University]