ARCHIVED - Vancouver -- Canada's Gateway to Green Energy
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April 07, 2007— Ottawa, Ontario
Widespread adoption of hydrogen and fuel cell technology could dramatically reduce our dependence on non-renewable hydrocarbon fuels, slash greenhouse gas emissions and improve urban air-quality. NRC has set its sights on finding just such "green" solutions through the new Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Gateway at the NRC Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation in Vancouver. Set to open this May, NRC partnered with Natural Resources Canada, Industry Canada, the Government of British Columbia and Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Canada to bring this technology demonstration centre on line for Canadian industry.
|Dr. Titichai Navessin is assembling a fuel cell to assess a novel Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA). The MEA - the "heart" of the fuel cell - is where fuel is converted to electricity.|
The Gateway will be launched during the Hydrogen & Fuel Cells 2007 International Conference and Trade Show, April 29 to May 2.
Conference participants visiting the Gateway will see, first-hand, state-of-the-art hydrogen and fuel cell products and technologies in action. The Gateway will feature the latest scientific breakthroughs, commercialization opportunities and research and development initiatives from prominent hydrogen and fuel cell experts from around the world.
As Chris Curtis, Vice-President of Hydrogen & Fuel Cells Canada points out: "Raising awareness of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies is crucial for their development and commercialization. The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Gateway will illustrate the benefits of hydrogen and fuel cells — reducing the impacts of climate change, addressing air pollution, providing secure and reliable energy and encouraging innovation-based job growth."
About Fuel Cells
What do houses, flashlights, cars and laptops have in common? They can all be powered using fuel cells.
A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device that uses hydrogen or other fuels to produce electricity, water, and heat. It operates much like a battery but does not require electrical recharging. It can generate power almost indefinitely, as long as fuel is supplied.
A fuel cell can utilize a variety of fuels including hydrogen, natural gas, formira and methanol.
From the Hydrogen & Fuel Cells Canada website
Bringing fuel cells into the mainstream
With global energy consumption forecasted to rise 60 percent by 2020, the time is right for NRC's approach to partnerships in developing clean, sustainable energy alternatives.
NRC began bringing the elements together in 1998 when it organized a task force to help make fuel cells and hydrogen technologies a mainstream solution. By 2003/2004 NRC had managed to secure $85 million to establish a hydrogen and fuel cell technologies cluster in Vancouver.
The NRC cluster initiative is gaining partners and speed. Vancouver already has the world's most advanced cluster of companies and organizations focused on these new technologies.
Anchored by Ballard Power Systems, one of the world's leading fuel cell producers, the cluster accounts for more than 70 percent of the 1,800 Canadians employed in this growing industry.
NRC's building on the University of British Columbia campus exemplifies how things can be done without consuming oil and gas. Despite the energy demands of a research facility, it's powered by photovoltaic panels, underground heat pumps and a solid oxide fuel cell.
Hydrogen has distinct advantages. It has the potential to be a clean fuel when used in energy applications such as fuel cells or modified internal combustion engines.
It can be zero emissions, depending on method of production. It can be produced using methanol, natural gas, ethanol, petroleum and renewable feedstocks, allowing most regions of the world the means of producing it. It's safe to produce, store, transport and use in fuel cells and internal combustion engines. And it can store off-peak energy produced by solar, wind and tidal generation.
Canadian fuel cell and hydrogen technologies are already being put to the test. They're powering forklifts at Wal-Mart and transit buses across Europe, heating hot water in Japanese homes and ensuring uninterruptible power supply in telecommunications server rooms across the US.
Unlike fossil fuels, hydrogen-powered fuel cells don't produce particulates, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides or volatile organic compounds. With newly affluent and densely populated countries like China suddenly putting thousands more cars on the road each week, the need for clean fuel alternatives has become even more urgent.
- NRC Areas of Research: Fuel Cells
- Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies: NRC's Vancouver-based Technology Cluster
- NRC Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation (NRC-IFCI)
Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada
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