The world’s first commercial hydrogen filling station will make its debut next month in Iceland, the country where the hydrogen revolution is expected to first take root. Other hydrogen filling stations scattered around the globe are private or restricted, but starting April 24, the new Reykjavik station will open its doors to the public — not that many average Janes and Joes have hydrogen-powered cars yet, even in Iceland. And maybe there need be no hurry to acquire them. A study released last week by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that the environmental benefits of gas-electric hybrid vehicles, which are already on the roads, will likely outstrip the environmental benefits of hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles until at least 2020. Hydrogen cars are ultra-clean and efficient once they get rolling, but at present most industrial hydrogen is produced using natural gas, an energy-intensive process that emits climate-altering greenhouse gases. Until hydrogen can be widely and affordably produced using renewable energy like wind and solar power, we’re better off sticking to diesel hybrids, say the MIT researchers.
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