President Bush, during his State of the Union Address this year, pronounced a $1.2 billion jump-start to the hydrogen economy. The move would represent not only freedom from US-dependence on foreign oil, which is a national security issue, but also a necessary and gargantuan step toward improving the environment by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. However, hydrogen storage is proving to be one of the most important issues and potentially biggest roadblock for the implementation of a hydrogen economy. Of the three options that exist for storing hydrogen, in a solid, liquid, or gaseous state, the former is becoming accepted as the only method potentially able to meet the gravimetric and volumetric densities of the recently announced FreedomCar goals; and of all known hydrogen storage materials, complex hydrides may be the only hope.In recent years, months, weeks, and even days, it has become increasingly clear that hydrogen as an energy carrier is ‘in’ and carbonaceous fuels are ‘out’1. The hydrogen economy is coming, with the impetus to transform our fossil energy-based society, which inevitably will cease to exist, into a renewable energy-based one2. However, this transformation will not occur overnight. It may take several decades to realize a hydrogen economy. In the meantime, research and development is necessary to ensure that the implementation of the hydrogen economy is completely seamless, with essentially no disruption of the day-to-day activities of the global economy. The world has taken on a monumental, but not insurmountable, task of transforming from carbonaceous to renewable fuels, with clean burning, carbon dioxide-free hydrogen as the logical choice.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(03)00921-0