SITE VISIT: Powering Up With Fuel Cells

Science  30 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5428, pp. 635
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5428.635b

Fuel cells, a power source that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, may be the world's best hope for cars that emit virtually no pollution. The Web offers a smattering of useful sites on this developing technology.

A good introduction to the topic is a 33-page book (in PDF format) just out from Los Alamos National Lab. It covers everything from a basic diagram of the cell to the trade-offs of different fuel types (gasoline versus hydrogen, for example) and how the cells could help avoid global warming. To plug into the fuel cells research community, click over to Fuel Cells 2000, sponsored by a nonprofit. The site's offerings include answers to frequently asked questions (Why haven't fuel cells caught on? Answer: They're still too expensive), conferences, a bibliography, a message board, and news. (For example, Toyota and Honda recently announced plans to commercialize fuel cell vehicles by 2003.) Fuel Cells 2000 also lists some 170 companies, government labs, and academic departments working on fuel cells.

For a European slant on fuel cells that use hydrogen, there's HyWeb, a site in German and English. It includes review articles, a glossary, and Hydrogen-Gazette, a quarterly electronic newsletter about fuel cells in Germany and elsewhere.

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