NOVA ScienceNOW Debate on Hydrogen Fuel Cells
Nova ScienceNOW, hosted by PBS, sponsored a point-counterpoint debate between Dr. Daniel Sperling and Dr. Joseph Romm on the subject of hydrogen fuel cells. Far from being a shouting match, the discussion proceeded like a well oiled machine; opening statements, 4 challenges, 1 answer to each challenge and 1 reply to the other's answer. The 4 challenges that had to be addressed by the doctors were: "[how] to develop and introduce cost-effective, durable, safe, and environmentally desirable fuel cell systems and hydrogen storage systems", "[how] to develop the infrastructure to provide hydrogen for the light-duty-vehicle user", "[how] to reduce sharply the costs of hydrogen production from renewable energy sources, over a time frame of decades" and "[how] to capture and store ("sequester") the carbon dioxide by-product of hydrogen production from coal". The format did not let them go in great depth on any subject, but the debate is a good introduction to many of the issues. As for our position, we think that things look bad for fuel cells right now (for transportation, anyway) and that plug-in hybrids and electric cars show a lot more promise in the near and medium term.