Fuel cells convert chemical energy directly into electrical energy with high efficiency and low emission of pollutants. However, before fuel-cell technology can gain a significant share of the electrical power market, important issues have to be addressed. These issues include optimal choice of fuel, and the development of alternative materials in the fuel-cell stack. Present fuel-cell prototypes often use materials selected more than 25 years ago. Commercialization aspects, including cost and durability, have revealed inadequacies in some of these materials. Here we summarize recent progress in the search and development of innovative alternative materials.