Fuel Cell Movie Misses

Have you ever noticed that fuel cells are severely misrepresented in the movies? I wince every time they explode as though they were a bomb. In this article, we cover the top movies that we feel misrepresent fuel cells. If you haven’t seen these movies yet and still want to, I must warn you before you read on that there are spoilers.

Here are our top three offenders:

Fuel Cell Movie Miss # 3 – Terminator 3, Rise of the Machines

Yet again, Skynet has sent back a new model of Terminator, the T-X, to kill John Connor. The Resistance sends a Terminator as well, and this version has been outfitted with two hydrogen fuel cells in its torso. When ruptured, these cells become unstable and will eventually explode like a mini hydrogen bomb.

We understand that there will be explosions, after all this is a Terminator movie, but we can’t understand why the hydrogen fuel cell is exploding. If the cell was ruptured, as stated in the movie, then there wouldn’t have been any hydrogen left to burn, it would have leaked and dissipated through the Terminator’s metal frame. Even if there were a cell that small (small enough to fit into the T-X’s mouth), seems unlikely to cause an explosion upon impact with the ground.

Fuel Cell Movie Miss # 2 – Oblivion

In this fuel cell movie, fuel cells are about the size of a liter bottle and are being used as a power source for drones. The fuel cells from these drones are collected by the human resistance and are then combined to create a bomb that will eliminate their oppressors.

I am not sure how fuel cells get detonated or cause an explosion. The size of the fuel cell packs do not indicate that a fuel source is included, especially since these fuel cells are supposed to power flying smart drones. Plutonium is also included in the bomb, but I am not aware of a plutonium fuel cell or of that being any use in ignition, and treating fuel cells like grenades or smart bombs sends the wrong message.

Fuel Cell Movie Miss # 1 – 007, Quantum of Solace

Bond is at it again, thwarting the bad guys through action-packed scenes and big explosions. This time we follow Bond to an eco-hotel in the Bolivian desert, where the entire hotel is powered by a complex system of hydrogen fuel cells throughout the building.

During the final showdown, Bond finds himself trapped in a burning room with no way out until he spots the hydrogen fuel cell on the wall across from him. He shoots the fuel cell, causing it to detonate like a bomb and blow out the wall, and is then able to make his escape.

Exciting? Yes. Correct? No.


Shooting a hydrogen fuel cell probably wouldn’t cause much to happen, since the hydrogen and oxygen are separated by a membrane and don’t mix. Also, bullets are not a good source of ignition, and at most would cause a hydrogen leak. The leak would act more like a blowtorch in the current fiery conditions, and would not cause an explosion capable of blowing out a solid wall. We thought Bond would have known better!