Fuel Cells

Expert Voices

U.S. minerals strategy aims to safeguard vital technologies

lab scientist coating a glass slide with indium
A glass slide being coated with indium tin oxide for use in a nanoparticle solar cell. Photo: Chris So/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The Commerce Department released on Tuesday an interagency report that identifies a list of minerals deemed critical to U.S. strategic interests and outlines an action plan to ensure their supply.

Why it matters: Securing these minerals and their supply chains is essential to leading the way on technologies that will enable the global energy transition, including cobalt and lithium for batteries, graphite and scandium for fuel cells, and indium and tellurium for solar panels.

Expert Voices

Germany's hydrogen-powered train advancing low-carbon transport

The Coradia iLint train, a CO2-emission-free regional train developed by French transport giant Alstom, is on display
The Coradia iLint hydrogen-powered train on display at Innotrans, the railway industry's largest trade fair, in Berlin, on September 20, 2016. Photo: John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images

In September, Germany started operating the world's first hydrogen train, the Coradia iLint, which is powered by hydrogen fuel cells stored on top of its carriages. Like a conventional electric train, the Coradia iLint produces no direct air pollution, but it can operate without access to the electric grid.

Why it matters: Hydrogen-powered trains like the Coradia iLint could be built on un-electrified lines in areas where diesel engines are still used, which would greatly reduce harmful emissions typical of combustion technologies. If those trains use hydrogen fuel produced from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, they could become an almost entirely carbon-free mode of transport.