Hydrogen is the most viable fuel for powering the passenger cars of the future, so said a group of well-placed experts this afternoon. And for once talk like that is being backed up with actions.

It was the message anyone who attended today’s plenary session on the future of hydrogen for passenger cars at World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi would have taken away.

While the debate on the cost, range and technology limitations and infrastructure for electric cars rumbles on, it seems hydrogen fuel-cell technology has been slowly developing in the background and is now on the cusp of deployment. Cars like Mercedes’ B-class F-cell and Honda’s FCX Clarity have shown us this in recent months.

Before we get to the benefits, it’s worth considering the biggest problem of hydrogen: an infrastructure to support its distribution.

Production of hydrogen to power the cars is not the problem, nor is its relative cost. Shell’s Jurgen Louis said hydrogen is already produced on a large scale; three to four per cent of all the energy produced in the world is hydrogen.

“Its distribution in both liquid and compressed forms is by special pipelines and trucks,” he said. “These are much more expensive than normal pipelines. Current hydrogen production is enough to set-up a mobility network. We just need regional networks to support this.”