There are great hopes that hydrogen will become a main energy source as common as gasoline. Hydrogen is plentiful and when it is burned it releases no pollutants. But one of the problems is to produce it in a cheap and sustainable manner. In the past, hydrogen has been captured by using expensive metals like platinum to cause a chemical splitting of the element from oxygen in water molecules.
Now scientists from the University of New South Wales, say that they can produce hydrogen by using low-cost and abundant metals like iron and nickel in a process that uses much less energy. Despite the growing market for electric vehicles, refueling a hydrogen car could be done in minutes as opposed to the hours it takes to recharge a lithium battery in an electric car.
Forbes reports that the first zero emission hydrogen rail project in the U.S. is being planned for San Bernardino County in Southern California. The local transportation authority will operate a commuter train on a 9-mile stretch that will run on fuel cells. There’s already a commuter rail line running on hydrogen fuel in Germany with more planned in France. China saw the first fuel cell tram go into operation in 2015.