Part of a car engine.

A car engine.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Using hydrogen as car fuel may sound unlikely, but three companies have already produced vehicles that make use of the fuel: Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda. What these companies found is that it is extremely expensive to keep hydrogen under the pressure needed in order for it to function as a fuel. This makes it unfeasible to produce for the consumer market. In other words, hydrogen will never replace fossil fuels.

However, chemical engineering professor Jose L. Mendoza-Cortes has struck on a system that could make it a lot easier to store hydrogen fuel in vehicles. His system would allow hydrogen cars to drive further and be more efficient.

The process involves bonding hydrogen to porous materials like cobalt or nickel, allowing more hydrogen to fit into the tank by condensing it. This process was discovered via computer modeling, which means it will still be a while before such technology comes to market. But Mendoza-Cortes still believes it can happen.

More and more researchers are working on ways to make alternative fuels not only a possibility, but one that could actually replace fossil fuels. While the oil industry has made huge efforts to slow down or prevent such research from having a major impact on the industry, that backward, destructive viewpoint isn’t going to hold forever.

An increasing number of consumers are concerned about green initiatives, and seek products and services that are better for the environment. Consumers have even shown that they’re willing to pay more for such options. As those options become as cheap, or cheaper, than traditional services rewiring fossil fuels, the latter will be in serious danger.

But what these researchers need more than anything right now is more funding. Science isn’t cheap, and as we transition to a new presidential administration that shows no interest in working to combat climate change, federal funding for such projects is likely to start drying up. So if you’re looking for investment opportunities, consider alternate energy. It might be a slow turnaround, but it’ll pay off eventually.