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The Next Big Thing? Introduces viewers to the fuel cell, which can produce pollution-free electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen; the only by-products are water and heat. Firoz Rasul, president of Ballard Power Systems, a leading fuel cell manufacturer, says hydrogen fuel cells are the perfect non-polluting power source for the 21st century—and not just for cars. "I think the fuel for…the next 100 years certainly is going to be hydrogen. The fuel cell has as many applications as your imagination will allow you. Wherever you can thaink of electricity, you can think of a fuel cell. From a small one to provide power for your laptop, to your home, to a hospital, to a car, to a ship, to a train, and so on."

But fuel cells have been around for 160 years. If they're so promising, why have they taken so long to get our attention? The Next Big Thing? answers this question by taking a fresh look at the history of some crucial technologies that have shaped our lives: the internal combustion engine, the telephone, nuclear power, alternating current, and the Internet. (Photo above: ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicle) bus in Vancouver)

Produced by Michael Schwarz and Bill Jersey

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View a clip from The Newshour about the economics of oil production. Originally aired on 12/12/00.

Additional information available at:
www.fuelcells.org (General information on fuel cell technology)
www.altenergy.org (The Alternative Energy Institute's website)

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