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DTI predicts strong future for fuel cells

Investors in the fuel cell market are ‘getting ahead of tomorrow’s game’, according to Malcolm Wicks, DTI energy minister.

Wicks will be giving a speech at a DTI conference organised by Fuel Cells UK in London today, where he will discuss the potential of fuel cell technology.

Wicks says: “Cars, homes, laptops and mobile phones, could be powered by revolutionary fuel cells in the future.

“A fuel cell can be compared to a battery that possesses the advantage of being constantly ‘recharged’ with an input of fuel and air. A key feature of fuel cells is their ability to meet power needs, with zero or very low emissions, across a wide variety of applications - in our homes and industries, as well as in vehicles and portable electronic devices.”

Wicks says the continuing growth in fossil fuel use around the world is bringing major problems that have to be dealt with to tackle climate change.

The Government wants a 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 and new sustainable energy technologies such as fuel cells could help move towards that target.

"The versatility of fuel cells means they can also contribute to the diversity of supply, as the electricity they generate can be produced using a variety of sources such as natural gas and waste.

"They can be used in the home providing combined heat and power, for which the DTI provides grants under the recently launched Low Carbon Building programme. They also have the potential to replace the internal combustion engine or the batteries in our laptops and mobiles.

"The DTI is supporting the development through its technology programme and a £15 million demonstration programme," says Wicks.

Peter Bance, Fuel Cells UK chairman, says: "Fuel cell commercialisation is moving forward rapidly across the world.

“The evolution from research through to full-scale production is generating opportunities for businesses along the supply chain. In the UK, against a backdrop of established players and research activities, we have recently seen the emergence of small entrepreneurial companies and potential suppliers to the industry, all keen to establish a presence in the international market place.”

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