Hydrogen fuel cells: With a database of 500,000 materials, researchers zero in on best bets

As researchers work toward next-generation electric vehicles, they may be hitting their heads on the ceiling of what lithium ion batteries can deliver. Meanwhile, a team of researchers from the University of Michigan are pushing the performance of a competing electric vehicle technology—hydrogen fuel cells—to new heights.

A hydrogen fuel cell is a zero-harmful-emissions power source that acts like a cross between a battery and a gas tank. It employs hydrogen as the fuel and harnesses the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity. The only “emission” is water.