Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, is increasingly viewed, along with electric vehicles, as one way to slow the environmentally destructive impact of the planet’s 1.2 billion vehicles, most of which burn gasoline and diesel fuel. Manufacturers of large trucks and commercial vehicles are beginning to embrace hydrogen fuel cell technologies as a way forward. So are makers of planes, trains and passenger vehicles…
“This is about the closest I’ve seen us get so far to that real turning point,” said Shawn Litster, a professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University who has studied hydrogen fuel cells for nearly two decades.
Hydrogen has long been a feedstock for the production of fertilizer, steel, petroleum, concrete and chemicals. It’s also been running vehicles for years: Around 35,000 forklifts in the United States, about 4% of the nation’s total, are powered by hydrogen. Its eventual use on roadways, to haul heavy loads of cargo, could begin to replace diesel-burning polluters.