A small company in Utah claims to be on the verge of solving the fuel cell conundrum. Breakthrough–or bunko?

Solve the devilish problem of storing and transporting hydrogen–and you can kick off the fuel cell era. Powerball International, a six-year-old outfit in Salt Lake City, says it has found a cheap and safe way to deliver one of nature’s most volatile gases. Can we believe these guys?

There are reasons to be skeptical. The company trades on the NASD Bulletin Board, home to more than its share of financially dubious propositions. The original backer made his money owning a racetrack and selling gold-mining shares. Its founder was ousted and later spent a week in a mental hospital. Most lab work is being done by undergrad students. The most distinguished scientific voice in support of Powerball’s technology hails from the University of Utah, which is home to that infamous cold-fusion fantasy of 1989.