For a great scientific background to why hydrogen fuel cells are still far from commercial viability, read this outstanding Tech Central Station article from Monday. Smil’s argument is thorough and precise. It also complements the economic arguments I made in this spring’s Let the Hydrogen Economy Evolve 5-part series at Reason.

Interestingly, on the same day, NEC unveiled its methanol fuel cell-powered laptop computer. As I said in this 17 March post, this small fuel cell research will ultimately generate some very useful lessons for larger fuel cell research. Methanol fuel cell laptops and PDAs are a step toward our hydrogen future, and are a sensible way to test-bed fuel cell technologies without stampeding to the fuel cell vehicle.