When Elon Musk called hydrogen fuel cells “the most dumb thing I could possibly imagine for energy storage” in a recent interview, most people had probably never heard of the technology. And if they had, they likely associated it with the Hindenburg, the hydrogen-filled airship that famously caught fire and exploded 85 years ago.
But hydrogen fuel-cell technology has come a long way in terms of safety and efficiency, and it could play a significant role in accelerating the transition away from fossil fuels, energy experts say.
Essentially, the technology works by extracting hydrogen from water or carbon fossil fuels and then reversing the process, combining hydrogen and oxygen atoms across an electrochemical cell to produce electricity, water vapor, and some heat.
See also: What Elon Musk has said about hydrogen