Green Cities

How Hydrogen May Change the World

It’s no secret: there’s no silver bullet to address climate change. Any solution will draw on a myriad of tools, stakeholders and innovations to minimize our impact on the planet. Some players make an immediate impact and others set in motion a longer revolution. Take hydrogen fuel cell cars. Visitors at the Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day will see a prototype of the Toyota Mirai on the National Mall. This hydrogen-powered vehicle prototype represents Toyota’s lasting, global commitment to expand sustainable transportation options. How does it work? Drivers fill the vehicle with hydrogen that later combines with oxygen in a chemical reaction to create electricity that powers the car. What’s the benefit? The only emission from the tailpipe is pure water. Where does hydrogen come from? Using technology available today, hydrogen fuel can be made from many sources, including wind, solar, biogas, biomass and natural gas. Why does it matter? We need alternatives to fossil fuels. We all know that. As more and more people inhabit the planet and travel its roads, we have to look at long-term, sustainable energy sources. Fuel cell technology goes beyond vehicles too. With an adapter in its trunk, the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is capable of supplying enough energy to power home essentials in an average house for up to a week in an emergency. That’s a zero emission generator sitting right in the garage when we need it most. Hydrogen faces challenges. Currently, only a few hydrogen fueling stations exist in the United States, supported financially by companies, government and other stakeholders. Stations are slowly expanding but building this infrastructure takes time, money and continued collaboration. But that’s what Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day is about – demanding change. Just because a technology faces obstacles doesn’t mean it isn’t worth pursuing. The name “Mirai” comes from the Japanese word for “future,” because this is a viable road to the future. It’s no small statement. The company has spent billions in the research, development and supporting infrastructure. So check it out when you visit the National Mall on April 18th. Keep an open mind. Lend your voices to the discussion.