Combined with the fuel cell technology, hydrogen is a vector of clean energy that is used to produce electricity where it is needed.
Hydrogen used in a fuel cell allows us to produce electricity directly onboard a vehicle propelled by an electric engine. These zero local emission vehicles release only water.
Producing hydrogen requires energy. For this reason, hydrogen is referred to as a vector of energy, such as electricity and not as primary energy. Examples of primary energy include oil, carbon or coal, natural gas and some renewable energy sources.
All of the major car manufacturers have developed demo fleets of electric cars, and today there are around 300 such vehicles in use. Because of the satisfactory performances of their vehicle demo programs, car manufacturers are planning to begin selling electric cars on a wider scale by around 2015.
Hydrogen is also used to produce clean and silent energy for a variety of applications where doing so meets an immediate need and also offers a genuine benefit. This is the case for power supply to isolated regions that are not connected to the power grid, sensitive sites that require reliable back-up energy systems, captive fleets (forklift trucks and buses), and portable power generators used for outdoor events.
Walmart and Coca-Cola use hydrogen-propelled forklift trucks in one of their packaging centers located in Canada and the United States.