A caravan of hydrogen-fueled cars and SUVs paused to refuel today at Duke University, lingering long enough to let local folks lift the hood for a glimpse of zero-emission technology that might become part of our future.
So when do we get to drive one of these things home?
“It will almost surely take several decades before hydrogen-fueled vehicles could comprise a significant share of the automotive fleet,” says Richard Newell, Gendell Associate Professor of Energy and Environmental Economics in Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
Hydrogen fuel cells are pollution-free, but the complete environmental picture depends on how the hydrogen itself is produced — whether from nuclear or renewable energy sources or from fossil fuels. A mobile refueling tanker traveling with the tour carries hydrogen made with hydroelectric power.
“Significant scientific, economic and practical hurdles must be surmounted before hydrogen becomes a cost-effective part of the energy system,” Newell said.
For one thing, there can’t be a mass market for hydrogen cars unless the nation as a massive network of hydrogen fueling stations.
The Hydrogen Road Tour is ...