To the layman, however, hydrogen is fuel. When you drive your hydrogen car (with internal combustion engine or fuel cell) up to an H2 fueling pump, you refuel your car. The hydrogen is then “burned” in the internal combustion engine or fuel cell which in turn propels the vehicle and emits only a small amount of steam.
Hydrogen is also used as a propellant is NASA rockets and hydrogen peroxide is used as fuel in some jetpacks and racecars. Many who argue that hydrogen fuel is really an energy carrier are battery electric car enthusiasts.
What they fail to mention is that electrical batteries and capacitors, commonly found in electric cars are also energy carriers. At least to Wikipedia, an energy carrier is a “system or substance that contains energy for conversion as usable energy later or somewhere else.”
Coal, petroleum and methane are considered energy sources or fuels since the energy is already in them as they are found in nature. They don’t have to be altered into another state.
But, for most people hydrogen fuel is a perfectly adequate term to describe a volatile, flammable and combustible substance that propels one’s car, trucks, motorcycle, airplane or other vehicle.
The reason many prefer hydrogen fuel cars to many other types of vehicles is the low or zero emissions. Hydrogen fuel cell cars typically give off zero emissions, while hydrogen cars with internal combustion engines give off near zero emissions.
Some criticize electric cars as not being true zero emissions vehicles since the majority of electricity in this country is generated by coal. The majority of hydrogen fuel, however, is now generated by steam reforming natural gas, which is a cleaner process than burning coal.
There is also much research now being conducted to produce direct solar to hydrogen using nanotechnology. Other production methods involve using algae, bacteria, waste water treatment plants, garbage dumps, and other chemical methods to produce H2 gas.
Presently, the United States, Germany and Japan are the leaders in producing hydrogen fuel and H2 cars. Germany is making a push with its H2 Mobility plan to quickly build a hydrogen refueling infrastructure in that country so that commercial rollout of H2 vehicles will be possible by the year 2015.
Source Hydrogen Cars Now