Canadian Consulting Engineer

Minister suggests firms prepare for fuel cell power

As Canada looks to fuel cell technology as one of its most promising options for a greener future, an industry grou...

May 1, 2003   Canadian Consulting Engineer

As Canada looks to fuel cell technology as one of its most promising options for a greener future, an industry group has identified some of the obstacles that need to be overcome.
Allan Rock, Canada’s Minister of Industry, released a “roadmap” for the commercialization of the fuel cell industry on April 15 and said it would be a means for companies to plan their investment decisions and industrial development activities.
Fuel cells are one of the most promising new technologies for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, and are being developed as an alternative to gasoline engines for vehicular transportation and as electricity generating units for buildings.
The roadmap was drawn up by 45 organizations in the fuel cell and hydrogen sectors, with input from academia, industry and government. Fuel Cells Canada and PricewaterhouseCoopers spearheaded the group. Calling their document, “The Canadian Fuel Cell Commercialization Roadmap,” they noted that the global market for fuel cells will be $56 billion annually by 2011. Ron Britton, president of Fuel Cells Canada, said “These efforts will not only position Canada to take advantage of a predicted $45-billion annual global market by 2011, but will also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, local air pollution and develop long-term sustainable energy solutions.” Companies such as B.C.’s Ballard Power have become world leaders in fuel cell technology.
However, the team identified four major areas for action, one being the need to build up a support infrastructure. It means establishing training programs to ensure there are skilled people in the industry, and setting up a convenient fuelling infrastructure.
The group also stated goals such as “improving product quality while reducing costs,” and “gaining increased access to capital for growth.” They want to see more demonstration projects and more collaboration and investment in research.


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