Shots Fired

There's nothing more Elon Musk than denouncing hydrogen power and ridiculing a billionaire foe in the same breath.

Yesterday, the self-described sock aficionado and longtime hydrogen energy hater casually dismissed Microsoft founder Bill Gates' claim that hydrogen power is the "Swiss Army Knife of decarbonization" — by responding to another user's Gates-disparaging tweet with just a simple-yet-effective laughing face emoji.

"Cheap clean hydrogen would be a great breakthrough we have many uses for it," the user wrote. "Also if we could bottle the tooth fairy and clone Santa Claus, and replace public transport with unicorns we'd be all good."

Hydro No

The rivalry between these two tech moguls runs deep, as do their very different opinions about hydrogen power.

Earlier this year, for instance, Musk called the controversial resource "the most dumb thing I could possibly imagine for energy storage" at the Financial Times Future of the Car Summit.

"I really can’t emphasize this enough," he continued. "It’s important to understand that if you want a means of energy storage, hydrogen is a bad choice."

Musk has also maintained a very public beef with hydrogen cell-powered truck manufacturer Nikola Motors, tweeting back in 2020 that "fuel cells = fool sells."

Hydro Hurrah

Alleged climate advocate Gates, on the other hand, is incredibly excited about hydrogen energy's potential.

In his remarks published on his personal blog — which Musk just lol-faced at — Gates argues that traditional battery power is great for passenger EVs and shorter trucking endeavors, but not so much for aviation, shipping, and long-distance trucking, for which hydrogen fuel cells might make a lot more sense.

"Clean hydrogen has the potential to provide a net-zero solution for moving cargo around the world," the philanthropist wrote in the post.

But Musk appears to think otherwise, given Tesla's much-anticipated, battery-powered semi truck.

Hydrogen fuel cell technology still has plenty to prove, especially when it comes to powering passenger vehicles.

But if we've learned anything from the drama, it's that a picture — or, perhaps, an emoji — is worth a thousand words.

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