I must take issue with the
I must take issue with the Hydrogen-bashing on this site. There are a couple of incorrect assumptions used here that I would like to address.
First is what I would call the "fuel cell assumption"--that is that hydrogen will automatically be utilized in some sort of fuel cell arrangement. There is actually a much better way to use hydrogen as a fuel which would be in a hydrogen-hybrid configuration. In this set-up compressed hydrogen would fuel a small gas-turbine engine connected to a generator which would charge a battery/supercapacitator pack.
The advantages of this set-up are numerous. Hydrogen is an excellent fuel for gas turbine engines which in turn are very well suited to turning a generator at a constant rpm. The battery/capacitator array acts as a buffer and provides electrical energy to power electric drive motors located in the wheels of the vehicle. This is all off-the-shelf technology that could be developed very quickly with the proper motivation and incentives.
The second incorrect assumption is that of "centralized production/distribution". It is understandable since this has been the model for previous energy sources but hydrogen represents a brand new paradigm. It need not--in fact should not--be produced in large centralized facilities and then distributed outward by truck or pipeline as is the case with gasoline or natural gas. Right now several scandanavian countries are looking at on-site micro-production of hydrogen. This eliminates the need for large production facilities and a distribution network. There are really only two things you need to produce hydrogen--electricity and water. Micro hydrogen generation stations can be located anywhere you have access to the power grid and water supply. An owner of a hydrogen-hybrid vehicle could have a hydrogen micro-generator in their garage. Just about every fuel station in the country could also be the site for a hydrogen microgenerator. Obviously government incentives and mandates would have to be involved to get this infrastructure in place but there is a precedent in the gradual phase-out of leaded gasoline from fuel stations back in the 1970's/80's
The final incorrect assumption is that regarding the "safety factor". Hydrogen is by no means any more dangerous than any other fuel. In fact careful examination of the evidence shows just the opposite. Hydrogen is a much safer and forgiving fuel than what we have grown accustomed to using.
Due to it's low density hydrogen gas does not pool in potentially explosive pockets--such as gasoline vapor. In contrast hydrogen wants to escape to the upper atmosphere. With proper venting the safety issues surrounding hydrogen should be minimal.