One day, the oil will run out, so we’d better have a few ideas ready so we needn’t go back to camels and bicycles for transportation. Under the hood will shortly look something like this….
The idea of a fuel cell has been around for quite a while. Sir William Grove invented the first fuel cell in 1839. He knew that water could be split into hydrogen and oxygen by sending an electric current through it. [electrolysis of water] He suggested that by reversing the procedure by combining hydrogen and oxygen you could produce electricity and water. He created a primitive fuel cell and called it a gas voltaic battery. Fifty years later, scientists Ludwig Mond and Charles Langer coined the term fuel cell while attempting to build a practical model to produce electricity.
This site provides an excellent overview of fuel cells generally showing examples of the many different types. You only have to know that hydrogen can be used as a fuel, but a quick update on modern applications is worth a few minutes to scan through.Simply put, hydrogen gas is pumped into a catalytic chamber stripped of its electrons which are used to drive the electrical circuit, collecting them at the other side and combine with oxygen from the air to make water. No greenhouse gases, no pollution.