Hydrogen Cars: The Zero Emissions, Fossil-Fuel Alternative
by Steve Zweig
Most people, to the extent (probably small!) that they think of hydrogen at all, probably think of the Hindenburg, the famous German airship that burst into flames in New Jersey in 1937. It was from the coverage of this disaster that the phrase “Oh, the humanity” entered popular culture. The Hindenburg blackened hydrogen’s reputation, though to this day, no one knows for sure the cause of the disaster—many people, including TV’s Mythbusters, attribute the fire as much or more to the highly flammable paint used on the dirigible’s skin as to the hydrogen—and in any event, that a vehicle full of flammable hydrogen could burn is no more remarkable than a tanker truck fuel of flammable gasoline burning.
However, hydrogen may be the vehicular fuel of the future—at the least, it’s a serious contender as a high performance, zero tailpipe emissions, fossil-fuel alternative. It was a hydrogen fuel cell car, the Honda FCX Clarity, that won the 2009 World Green Car Award. James May, one of the co-hosts of the world’s most popular car show, Top Gear, said that the Clarity may be the car of the century.