The previous chapters, in particular Chapters 8 through 10, have dealt with the current status of fuel cell development towards practical systems. As we have seen, a remarkable range of commercial and precommercial stationary power systems, pre-commercial portable and, primarily, automotive systems now exists. Chapter 11 indicated that automotive fuel cell systems face stiff competition from developments such as hybrid cars but most of all from conventional cars with improved internal combustion engines and exhaust cleanup. So, are we going to see fuel-cell-powered cars in the showrooms by 2004? Will fuel cell domestic

boiler replacements

be available from 2003 onwards, and will we be doing away with power supplies for small

portable electronic systems

in the next few months? If the author of the above lines knew the answer to these questions, he would be earning his living at

the stock exchange or as a venture capitalist. But looking back at the fundamental principles and remaining problems of fuel cell technology, which have been discussed in earlier chapters, one is able to make a judgment as to what may happen in the years to come. Let us review a few key problems of fuel cell technology and then look at a likely scenario for the next five years.