Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Environment

Discover Data: How Clean is the Hydogen Fuel Cell?

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

How Clean is the Hydrogen Fuel Cell?

btndec.jpg

The Bush administration and automakers are touting fuel-cell vehicles as a nonpolluting technology, but engineers at the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment at MIT say the nonpolluting claim is not necessarily true. The group found that although fuel-cell vehicles would produce zero greenhouse-gas emissions during use, the extraction and refinement of hydrogen fuel would release three to five times as much carbon into the air as is released in procuring and refining gasoline and diesel. A near-future fuel-cell car would not be much cleaner than a well-designed battery-gasoline hybrid. John Heywood, an engineer at MIT, suggests following parallel paths for developing cleaner vehicles. “First, we need to improve standard combustion engines and transmissions so we can reduce energy consumption,” he says. But he also advocates starting work on hydrogen technology because in the long run fuel-cell vehicles that use “clean” hydrogen would reduce emissions. “If we do nothing in the short term with hydrogen, what we might have to do in 2050 will be twice as difficult,” Heywood says.

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In