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This work presents a perspective on the production and use of hydrogen as an automotive fuel. Hydrogen has been hailed as the key to a clean energy future primarily because it can be produced from a variety of energy sources, it satisfies all energy needs, it is the least polluting, and it is the perfect carrier for solar energy in that it affords solar energy a storage medium. Efforts are underway to transform the global transportation energy economy from one dependent on oil to that based on sustainable hydrogen. The rationale behind these efforts is that hydrocarbon-based automobiles are a significant source of air pollution, while hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles produce effectively zero emissions. Besides the transportation area, fuel cells can also reduce emissions in other applications such as the residential or commercial distributed electricity generation. Hydrogen is the perfect partner for electricity, and together they create an integrated energy system based on distributed power generation and use. A discussion on the sources of hydrogen in the near- and long-term future as well as the cost of hydrogen production is provided.
Date of Publication: Nov.-Dec. 2004