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Hydrogen: The Next Generation

Cleaning up production of a future fuel

11:41am, October 8, 2002

Today's world might run on fossil fuel, but many people predict that hydrogen will fuel the future–in cars, houses, and countless handheld electronic devices. Hydrogen-powered fuel cells (SN: 9/7/02, p. 155: Pocket Sockets) can generate electricity much more efficiently than fossil fuel can and without spewing polluting byproducts such as nitrous oxides, which contribute to smog, and carbon dioxide, the most prevalent gas behind global warming.

"All you do is generate water," says engineer Bruce E. Logan of the Pennsylvania State University in State College. "Who can argue with water coming out of tailpipes?"

Yet there's a big cloud hanging over this sunny image of the fossil-fuel-free future: The m

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