Only Vehicle Technology Option That Will Respond Effectively to Global Warming

Fuel cells and hydrogen fuel are the only motor vehicle technology option that will respond effectively to global warming during this century, according to a new analysis by a Washington expert in alternative fuels.

“The hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle is the only option that can achieve the goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 60% or more below 1990 levels in the transportation sector,” concludes Dr. C.E. Thomas in a study released today. “The second-best option, cellulosic ethanol plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), could at best achieve a 20% reduction, and even then not until 2090.”

The cost of a transition to hydrogen would be small compared to the cost of maintaining and expanding the current gasoline infrastructure, and that the benefits would far exceed the costs, according to Thomas’ calculations.

Thomas also concluded that “the hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle is the only option that would virtually eliminate urban air pollution from the transportation sector by 2100; all other vehicle/fuel options including both gasoline and ethanol PHEVs would produce essentially the same or greater urban air pollution as the existing car fleet due to increased vehicle miles traveled.”

Hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles are the best option for reducing US dependence on foreign oil, Thomas added. He also said that they “will provide greater societal cost savings than any other alternative.”

Utilizing several models and analytical tools, Thomas evaluated various configurations of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, bio-fuel and hydrogen vehicle pathways including associated infrastructure. He presented his findings today at the National Hydrogen Association meeting in Sacramento, CA. The results were released simultaneously in Washington, DC, by Fuel Cells 2000.

Thomas is co-founder and President of H2Gen Innovations, Inc., in Virginia. He has worked in advanced energy and hydrogen in the Washington area for the past 20 years.

The full study is available online at

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