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A. An Alternative to Gasoline

Narrator: This is Science Today. You may not think about it tomorrow, but eventually gasoline is going to run out. The search for alternative fuels is on, and engineer Jim Heffel of the University of California, Riverside has a likely candidate: hydrogen. He and his team have modified a conventional truck to run on tanks of the lighter-than-air element.

Heffel: Our truck has the same engine that came with the vehicle. We did a few modifications to the engine, mainly to improve performance. Hydrogen has a little less energy content than gasoline, so to keep the same performance we've added a turbocharger.

Narrator: But that same lower energy content has safety advantages, too.

Heffel: Studies have been done where they've punctured a tank and lit it on fire and because the flame emits a lot less heat than, say, natural gas or gasoline, you can get real close to it. What's nice about that is that the chances of catching other things on fire are reduced.

Narrator: Besides that, hydrogen is non-toxic, non-polluting, and won't run out -- because it's made from water. For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.