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The dream bus stops here

Fuel cell vehicles can deliver more than a nice ride — if we don’t ditch them



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"In Denmark, we've had good experience with the wind industry - it's proven to be quite profitable. We're producing around 25 per cent of the windmills in the world, so we've learned that focusing on energy technological development can pay off," says Aksel Mortensgaard from his home in Copenhagen.

Mortensgaard is the director of the Danish Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, the result of a 2005 national strategy led by government that united all key stakeholders - government, research institutes and industry.

The partnership is "very, very well-organized" and "very convincing." Interestingly, the Danish government supports research to about 40 per cent of R&D funding, while Canada has traditionally covered about 17 per cent.

"We have a strong industry here - strong competency, strong advocacy and strong facilities. We also believe this can be a new venture within the windmill industry," he says.

Denmark and Canada, which claimed leadership in wind technology until it lost its position to Denmark, are researching fuel cells to store energy from wind power. Denmark, which is part of a Scandinavian hydrogen highway, also concurs with Germany's solution that renewable, sustainable energy sources will include hydrogen and fuel cell technology.


Time for Canada to catch up


Country               Government support for hydrogen fuel cell programs


USA                  $640 million annually to 2014 + $3,000/kW purchase-incentive tax credit


Germany          $1.1 billion until 2017


Japan                  $380 million in 2008 for R&D + commercialization


South Korea $100 million per year for development + commercialization


India                  $50 million per year for development + commercialization


China                  $60 million per year for development + commercialization


EU                   $800 million over six years


Denmark         $30 million per year

(Population: 5 million)


Canada         2008: $30 million

2009 - 2014: Unknown


If you would like to let our federal government know you want to keep Canada's fuel cell industry No. 1, go to www.chfca.ca and click on "Retain Our Hydrogen + Fuel Cell Leadership."

- Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association



Canadian fuel cell facts