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There will be more demand for generators as vehicles switch from internal combustion to electric power. Police departments and municipal governments will need backup power to charge emergency vehicles in case of a power outage. Hydrogen can be the solution, as it can be stored for long periods and used in emergency cases.

Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, is increasingly viewed, along with electric vehicles, as a way to slow the environmentally destructive impact of vehicles, most of which burn gasoline and diesel fuel. 

New dual-use technology will provide energy in civilian and military environments. General Motors will work with another company to build mobile electricity generators, electric vehicle charging stations and power generators for military camps.

The emissions-free hydrogen fuel cell generators will be designed to power large commercial buildings in the event of a power outage, but the company says it’s possible that smaller ones could someday be marketed for home use.

The automaker will collaborate with Renewable Innovations of Lindon, which will build the generators and rapid charging stations. GM’s current hydrogen power systems are being developed for heavy trucks, locomotives and aircraft.

Hydrogen generators are far quieter than those powered by petroleum, and their only byproduct is water. 

The production of the systems will start in the next year. At first, the generators will be aimed at powering police stations or industrial uses, as well as outdoor concerts. 

However, generating hydrogen isn’t always clean, according to techxplore.com. At present, most of it is produced by using natural gas or coal. That process pollutes the air, warming the planet rather than saving it. A new study by researchers from Cornell and Stanford universities found that most hydrogen production emits carbon dioxide, which means that hydrogen-fueled transportation cannot yet be considered clean energy.

Yet proponents say that in the long run, hydrogen production is destined to become more environmentally safe. The quietness and relative lack of heat make the military generators ideal for powering a camp of soldiers.