Toyota’s research and development team is armed with new technology that it hopes will open the door to more durable and efficient fuel cell stacks.

The breakthrough will allow Toyota to monitor how fuel cell catalysts degrade in real time to better understand the burgeoning technology. The 2016 Toyota Mirai is the latest in hydrogen fuel cell transportation technology to reach consumers. Earlier this month, Toyota announced the first eight California dealers that will be able to retail the Mirai.

Through 2017, the supply of Mirais for the U.S. will be limited to 3,000 per year.

Fuel cell vehicles have been available to Californians for years, but more automakers are beginning to offer the alternative fuel technology. Still, companies like Honda, Toyota and Hyundai have major investment hurdles to deal with before hydrogen can become a viable alternative to gasoline.

Toyota’s R&D development, which monitors nanometer-sized particles of platinum during chemical reactions in fuel cells, will allow it to better understand how those particles degrade. Platinum is an essential – and particularly expensive –component in fuel cell stacks.

This article originally appeared at AutoGuide.com