As the westernmost province in Canada, British Columbia is typically known around the world for its vibrant, multicultural cities and spectacular scenery. What is less known is that the province is also regarded as the birth place of the automotive fuel cell and within British Columbia’s largest city, Vancouver, a unique group of specialists and companies are working together to lead the way in fuel cell technology.
British Columbia is a powerhouse in fuel cell clean technology and is providing the North American automotive industry with key components in today’s most fuel-efficient cars.
British Columbia is home to the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC), a fuel cell ‘centre of excellence’ and a joint venture between Daimler and the Ford Motor Company. The AFCC is located in Vancouver and provides the automotive industry with the latest fuel cell technology and next-generation expertise for zero-emission automobiles. AFCC also works closely with fuel cell systems developer NuCellSys GmbH in Germany and Daimler’s fuel cell stack manufacturing group at Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cells, also located in Vancouver. As the origin of the automotive fuel cell, British Columbia is the perfect location for the AFCC due to the large number of industry experts in the area and the province’s commitment to fuel cell research and innovation.
British Columbia is also home to the pioneering fuel cell company Ballard Power Systems Inc. Ballard is a British Columbia-based company and a global leader in the PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cell technology. The company powers a fleet of 20 public transit fuel cell buses in Whistler, British Columbia, which is the largest fleet in the world, and has recently joined with European bus maker, Van Hool, to bid on funding from the EU to build zero-emission fuel cell buses in Europe. Ballard has also signed an engineering services deal with Volkswagen Group to develop fuel cells for demonstration cars.
In addition to the automotive industry, Ballard is focused on developing fuel cell power stations. In early 2014, the company will begin a pilot project with India’s Idea Cellular telecom network to utilize Ballard’s ElectraGen™-ME fuel cell system along with solar power, to generate continuous power at five wireless base stations throughout India. These projects are testaments to Ballard’s dedication to a clean technology future, and provide an opportunity for hydrogen and fuel cell companies to showcase their leading-edge knowledge and expertise.
The industry is also supported by the National Research Council Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation located at the University of British Columbia, which features a number of fuel cell technologies that are saving energy. As a leading developer and test bed for fuel cell products, British Columbia supports the hydrogen and fuel cell sector through provincial tax reductions for hydrogen fuel cell buses and investments in education and research.
Visit www.britishcolumbia.ca to learn more about British Columbia’s international trade and investment opportunities.
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