Explaining how fuel cells work is a daunting task, but an upcoming PBS television program makes it simple — and memorable.
Robert Krulwich, host of NOVA scienceNOW, drafted NPR Car Talk hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi to join him on a test drive of a fuel cell vehicle and then for a demonstration of the chemistry behind it.
The video clip presented here shows the brothers at their comic best, dressed as hydrogen atoms whose job is to get across a fuel cell membrane, triggering an electrochemical reaction that produces electricity.
In the segment, Krulwich also interviews MIT professor Dan Nocera, who is looking for new ways to coax hydrogen from water, using lasers and basic chemistry.
The segment, which airs July 26, also makes clear that the hydrogen future touted by President Bush and others still needs to clear plenty of obstacles if it is to ever materialize.