Viva la fuel cell revolution?

As newer technology enters our lives, it usually goes by evolution and not revolution. Think of things like video cards and TVs. Each iteration brings us better and faster devices with more features… but not a revolution. Think about HDTV and plasma. Have you tossed out your old set yet? Didn’t think so. But what about cell phones? That’s a revolution right? Yes… but… have you tossed your out your land line?

What is fuel cell technology?
Basically a fuel cell is a battery that as it’s being drawn from is also being recharged at the same time. This is accomplished by taking a fuel source, like propane or natural gas, and extracting the hydrogen and burning it. The only by-products are heat and water. Pretty good, eh? Well there are many technical difficulties that need be overcome. You can read about all the details here: http://science.howstuffworks.com/fuel-cell.htm.

So with that in mind, how should fuel cells enter our lives? I say through other devices and machines. Think lawn mowers, backup generators, and camping gear. 

There are the “early adopters” and then there are “the rest of us”. The early adopters are people who are willing to be high-price guinea pigs. They will buy new technology first, find the kinks, and subsidize the future production for the rest of us. The rest of us, however, wait for prices to fall or for the technology to become ubiquitous before buying. In the case of fuel cells, there’s a chicken and the egg problem. There aren’t any fuel stations setup to dispense either hydrogen or other fuels to make the fuel cells work. So, why would people want to buy a car that they can’t fuel up? Even the early adopters are left out in the cold.

On the other hand, lawn mowers and other smaller or portable devices, tend to use smaller amounts of fuel. If the fuel is, say propane, then chances are your grill may already use it. So, it wouldn’t be hard to use that same tank to power your mower or generator or many other camping-type devices. Plus, you can fill the tank at the local grocery store. This would also solve the second problem for “the rest of us”. If fuel cells entered our lives in a more subtle way, more people would be adopt at a faster rate.
   
One of the main problems with fuel cells is safety. If manufacturers can figure out a way to safely contain the hydrogen and get the fuel cells small enough, then we really could have a revolution…

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Mobile

Rekindled yet again, Nokia’s next-gen phones offer more than just nostalgia

HMD Global, a startup that designs and builds Nokia Android smartphones, wants to put the Nokia brand name back “where it belongs.” It helps that it’s made up of ex-Nokia employees. We go behind the scenes to see how HMD formed.
Gaming

Everything we know about 'Red Dead Online', including the new mode Gun Rush

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.
Deals

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Computing

Go hands-free in Windows 10 with speech-to-text support

Looking for the dictation, speech-to-text, and voice control options in Windows 10? Here's how to set up Speech Recognition in Windows 10 and use it to go hands-free in a variety of different tasks and applications within Windows.
Digital Trends Live

Microsoft has #*!@ed up to-do lists on an epic scale

Microsoft has mucked up to-do lists on a scale you simply can’t imagine, a failure that spans multiple products and teams, like a lil’ bit of salmonella that contaminates the entire output from a factory.
Opinion

As Amazon turns up the volume on streaming, Spotify should shudder

Multiple players are all looking to capitalize on the popularity of streaming, but it has thus far proved nearly impossible to make a profit. Could major tech companies like Amazon be primed for a streaming take-over?
Gaming

Throw out the sandbox. ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ is a fully realized western world

Despite featuring around 100 story missions, the real destination in Red Dead Redemption 2 is the journey you make for yourself in the Rockstar's open world, and the game is better for it.
Gaming

‘Diablo Immortal’ is just the beginning. Mobile games are the future

Diablo fans were furious about Diablo Immortal, but in truth, mobile games are the future. From Apple and Samsung to Bethesda and Blizzard, we’re seeing a new incentive for games that fit on your phone.
Movies & TV

He created comics, movies, and superheroes. But Stan Lee lived for joy

Stan Lee was a creator, a celebrity, an icon, and beneath it all, a real-life good guy with all the same human qualities that made his superheroes so relatable. And his greatest joy was sharing his creations with the world.
Music

Brian Eno sets out to change music (again) with Bloom: 10 World

We always felt that Bloom was a musical system that could be developed further -- it was as if we’d built a CD player and only ever released one CD. For this release, we’ve created ten new worlds, starting with a reimagined version of…
Computing

Can two operating systems coexist? The Pixel Slate thinks so

The Pixel Slate is a 2-in-1 device like no other. It’s not the most polished product we’ve ever used, but Google has laid the foundation for letting mobile and desktop software live side-by-side in peace.
Android

Why commercials in Android Auto could turn your dashboard into a dumpster fire

Google announced some tweaks to the Android Auto experience, focused on making messaging and media easier, but I worry about the future of the platform. For better or worse, there’s a real chance our dashboards could turn into dumpster…
Gaming

These are the best video games you shouldn't leave 2018 without

Developers showed up with a number of amazing games this year. Each capitalized on something unique but there's always one that outdoes them all. Here are our picks for the best video games of 2018 and game of the year.
Home Theater

Will Marvel’s shows lose their punch if they move from Netflix to Disney Plus?

Disney could pick up the Marvel shows being canceled by Netflix, but the idea raises all sorts of questions. Is continuing Daredevil, Punisher, or Jessica Jones on Disney's own streaming service a good move?