Within the next few decades we will be driving cars powered by material ‘lumps’ that have no moving parts. Early fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), outriders of the hydrogen economy, are already with us, but only as costly concept prototypes. Affordable family FCVs remain out of reach, largely because a single crucial component at the heart of the ‘alternative engine’ has been exotic, easily damaged and, in common with other fuel cell materials, too expensive. With the emergence of a potential mass market, new answers are needed and it is falling to material scientists to supply them.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(03)00333-X