We have until around 2030, industry analysts estimate, before we reach so-called peak oil, the point in time after which crude oil production will permanently decline. For private industries and nation states that rely on fossil fuels for transportation, heating and manufacturing, this milestone is a growing concern. The countdown toward peak oil ― only exacerbated by the destabilizing effect of geopolitics in oil production and distribution ― is prompting governments and companies to look for a cheap, alternative source of fuel.
The good news is that we may have a solution in fuel cells, a promising technology that has the potential to upend industries that depend on oil. Since fuel cells use hydrogen and other non-petroleum–based gases for power, a fuel cell-centric economy is able to readily produce its own fuel, creating the possibility for every nation to be truly energy-independent. In partnership with Toyota Mirai, we’re exploring why fuel cells are a likely candidate to replace oil one day and how that effort is shaping up.