Modern electric cars have been on sale for over four years, and in that time they've proven that battery power works in the real world.

Now, they're being joined by the first retail hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles as well.

Yet while it took considerable effort to get both of these technologies into the hands of consumers, there's still a lot to be done.

Short ranges, long charging times, and high cell prices still handicap battery-electric cars relative to internal-combustion vehicles.

Fuel cells are also dogged by cost issues, and there are questions about how enough hydrogen to supply a large fleet of cars can be produced sustainably.

The need to address these issues has led to a boom in research for both batteries and fuel cells.

Articles on new developments are published frequently, but here's a quick round up of some items that have caught our attention in particular:

An "Electrolyte Genome" created by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will act as a "Google-like database of molecules," potentially streamlining the process of finding new materials for batteries.

See which companies are leading the battery charge (no pun intended) in a report on the "$5 billion race to build a better battery" from Bloomberg.

The European Marine Energy Center is testing the combination of hydrogen storage and tidal power off the coast of Scotland. The system will feature an electrolyzer that captures excess power generated by tidal turbines, and a hydrogen-storage system that will enable the use of fuel cells as backup power for the research station, according to Greentech Media.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, used micromotors as a catalyst to release hydrogen from a salt solution. The process could lead to on-site or even in-vehicle generation of hydrogen for fuel cells, reports Chemistry World.

The University of Michigan receives a $1.2 million Department of Energy grant to develop new hydrogen-storage systems based around metal-organic frameworks (MOF)--compounds that could allow for storage of hydrogen at higher densities.

Electrical-equipment distributor Gexpro launches a new behind-the-meter battery system that could make energy storage more attractive to businesses, Greentech Media says.

A Caltech grad student creates a new potassium-based catalyst that could have potential transportation uses, according to

Finally, why stop at electric cars? NASA is developing a battery-powered plane, reports Epoch Times. Called Greased Lightning--or GL-10, for short--it has 10 electric motors.

[hat tips: Joseph Dubeau, Brian Henderson]


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