Monday, June 25, 2012

Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell Plant Grand Opening

Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell participated in the grand opening of the Mercedes-Benz fuel cell production and technology development facility in Burnaby today, which is providing 50 new jobs for B.C. families.
 Mercedes-Benz fuel cell plant creates 50 new jobs
$53 Million Investment Adds To BC's Fuel Cell 'Cluster'

Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell participated in the grand opening of the Mercedes-Benz fuel cell production and technology development facility in Burnaby today, which is providing 50 new jobs for B.C. families.

British Columbia was chosen as the home of the new facility, beating out some of the world’s largest automotive manufacturing centres: Detroit, California, Stuttgart and Ontario. In the end, it was B.C.’s reputation for excellence in fuel cell research, as well as our existing infrastructure for fuel cell development, that gave our province the edge.

In fact, this Mercedes-Benz investment in our province has confirmed B.C.’s long-held distinction, shared by industry insiders, as the number-one place for fuel cell technology development in the world.

As promised in March 2011, Mercedes-Benz has transformed a 3,300 square-metre section of a Ballard Power facility in Burnaby in a seven-month timeframe, a new record for the company. The first fuel cell stack was produced on June 7 of this year.

The company has invested $53 million in the new plant. In collaboration with B.C.’s world-class fuel cell research and development cluster, Mercedes-Benz is working toward reducing the cost of fuel cell technology for future generations.

The president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada is quoted as saying: “Our company has always had an unwavering commitment to innovation, and we recognize that this same spirit exists here in British Columbia.”  “We applaud the province’s multi-faceted, forward-thinking approach that has encouraged the concentration of many brilliant minds focused on research and development in this region. There is no better place to open the world’s first facility dedicated to the production and production technology development of fuel cell stacks.”  
While Minister Pat Bell commented: “B.C.’s greatest resource is our people, and nowhere is that more apparent than in our fuel cell development sector.”  “The Mercedes-Benz investment in our province is a huge vote of confidence in B.C.’s future and an enormous opportunity to stay ahead of the curve in the development of this important technology.”

B.C.’s fuel cell cluster
Dozens of Companies Call BC Home
  • Dozens of fuel cell companies and research organizations are located in B.C., including the National Research Council Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation (NRC-IFCI), the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation, Ballard Power, UBC's Clean Energy Research Centre, Powertech Labs, HTEC – Hydrogen Technology and Energy Corporation, Sacre-Davey Engineering, Angstrom Power, Tekion, dPoint Technologies and Greenlight Innovation.
  • British Columbia is home to 22 per cent of the world’s hydrogen and fuel cell facilities, the largest share of any jurisdiction.
  • Seventy-seven per cent of the world’s fuel cell research and development expenditure happens in British Columbia.
  • The largest proportion of employment in hydrogen and fuel cell activities is in British Columbia (58 per cent, representing 952 jobs).
  • Much of the world’s revenue from hydrogen and fuel cell related sales was generated in British Columbia (27 per cent), second only to Germany (30 per cent).
  • The global market for fuel cell energy technology is expected to be worth over $8.5 billion by 2016.
  • BC Transit is currently managing the world’s largest hydrogen fuel cell fleet operating in a single location as part of a demonstration project running until 2014.
  • British Columbia is home to the world's third-largest clean technology cluster.

Want To Know More About Fuel Cells?

  •  A fuel cell produces electricity through a chemical reaction rather than through combustion. It converts hydrogen and oxygen into water, and in the process, also creates electricity. It is an electro-chemical energy conversion device that produces electricity, water, and heat. 
  • Fuel cells operate much like a battery – but one you will never have to recharge. Unlike a battery, fuel cells can replenish the chemicals they use from the outside (for cars, as quick and easy as stopping at a hydrogen refuelling station).  
  • Fuel cells can generate power almost indefinitely, as long as they have an outside supply of hydrogen.  
  • Fuel cell technology is a near-zero emission solution that offers viable options to combat rising energy demands, climate change, and the demand for cleaner and fuel-efficient vehicles.  
  • In comparison to petroleum powered internal combustion engine, battery or hybrid vehicles, fuel cell vehicles offer high efficiency, fast refuelling, a long range, a quiet ride, zero tailpipe emissions, and independence from oil.


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