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Hydrogen Economy

  1. Stephen A. Wells1,
  2. Asel Sartbaeva2,
  3. Vladimir L. Kuznetsov2,
  4. Peter P. Edwards2

Published Online: 18 JAN 2011

DOI: 10.1002/0470862106.ia802

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

How to Cite

Wells, S. A., Sartbaeva, A., Kuznetsov, V. L. and Edwards, P. P. 2011. Hydrogen Economy. Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

  2. 2

    University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 JAN 2011


Hydrogen technologies and fuel cells evoke, for many people, vision of a future in which electrical energy and heat can be generated not only cleanly but also noiselessly and efficiently—with only water as by-product at the point of use. These technologies—particularly for transport applications—are viewed as a bridge to a sustainable and secure energy future. But despite its clear promise, hydrogen is today still largely only a potential energy carrier of the future; this chemical element is usually a key component of long-term energy policies. But, as recently noted by Eames and McDowall: “…it is expectations about, and visions of, the future of hydrogen that are currently driving investment and research.”

This article explores some of these expectations; in particular, we examine important scientific and technological issues concerning the production, storage, and utilization of hydrogen, as well as outlining the interrelated—and equally challenging—socioeconomic issues for a future hydrogen energy economy. We hope that this approach allows the reader to assess the complexities, challenges—and, of course, the considerable potential—of hydrogen and fuel cells in long-term transport strategies. We illustrate the very considerable central role of chemistry in building innovative solutions to key areas of a future hydrogen energy economy.


  • hydrogen energy economy;
  • fuel cell;
  • renewable energy;
  • electric vehicle;
  • sustainability;
  • hydrogen roadmap;
  • fossil fuels;
  • climate change;
  • hydrogen storage;
  • hydrogen production