Similarly to how gas is pumped into tanks, hydrogen would be pumped into fuel cells, which rely on chemistry, not combustion, to power vehicles. (As hydrogen flows through fuel-cell compartments, it reacts with oxygen to produce water and energy.) Associate Professor Mark Z. Jacobson and graduate student Whitney Goldsborough Colella (both in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department) and Consulting Professor David M. Golden (Mechanical Engineering Department) report that annually such a conversion could prevent millions of cases of respiratory illness and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and save more lives than were lost in the World Trade Center attacks.
"Converting all the current vehicles to fuel cell vehicles powered by wind would save 3,000 to 6,000 lives in the United States annually, and it could be done at a fuel cost that's comparable to the cost of gasoline, and less than the cost of gasoline when you consider the health effects of gasoline," said Jacobson, who has no financial interest in any wind or hydrogen endeavor but whose commitment to clean air is manifest in his choice of car (a Toyota Prius), house (it's solar-powered) and career (atmospheric scientist).
Sponsored by the Global Climate and Energy Project at Stanford and by NASA,
the Science study compared emissions that would be produced in five
cases--if all vehicles on the road were powered by 1) conventional
internal-combustion engines, 2) a combination of electricity and internal
combustion of gasoline, as in hybrid vehicles, 3) hydrogen ge
Contact: Dawn Levy