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    The Future of Fuel Cells


    by energynow

    Michael Goldstein, Chief Commercial Officer of Ballard Power Systems, talks to special correspondent Daniel Sieberg about the future of fuel cell technology. Goldstein says fuel cells are a solid-state technology - a cross between a battery and an engine that produces no emissions except water. He says the future of fuel cells is as part of what he calls a "constellation" of technology that will eventually take the place of fossil fuels. He says 10 or 15 years ago, fuel cells were believed to be a wonder technology, but investors at the time had unrealistic expectations for it. He says the reality, like many new technologies, is that it takes years to get it into the market and have the market grow. Nowadays, he says, the fuel cell industry is closer to fulfilling its promises, and companies like Ballard are focused on near-term technologies - ones that can make it to market within the time frame that investors want. Goldstein says he's delighted by the Growth of Bloom Energy, maker of the Bloom Box. He believes it's good for the industry to have competition, but he doesn't believes companies should make promises that can't be kept. He says his company has a policy of delivering technology before talking about it. He says more people aren't aware of fuel cell technology because it hasn't touched them yet. People are more interested in things that they can see and touch and effect their lives, and fuel cells haven't done that, except for electric car batteries. Those raised awareness 10 years ago, but the issue dropped from the public consciousness because the industries that were using fuel cell technology weren't consumer oriented. He says the difference between fuel cells and renewable energy is that fuel cells can produce energy whenever it's needed - there's no downtime. He says in the future, fuel cells will play a key role in the nation's power mix - along with wind, solar and other renewables - and that will be a huge market. Goldstein then demonstrates ...