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Fuel Cell Today Newsletter
July 2006

More evidence has appeared these past two weeks that fuel cell markets are making genuine headway into mainstream industry and also governmental consciousness.

On the industry side, the eye-catching headlines have been grabbed by Hyundai, the world’s fastest growing car company. At the opening of its 200 researcher-strong Eco-Technology Research Institute near Seoul, South Korea, Hyundai said that it did not think that the automotive future belonged to hybrid vehicles, but to fuel cell vehicles. It is rare that a major automotive company comes down so strongly on either side of the (so called) fuel cell vs. hybrid debate that has gained much news coverage over the last couple of years. Hyundai predicted that by the late 2040’s, fuel cell vehicles will account for 90 percent share of new vehicle production with around 80 million sales. For this reason, they announced that they will be moving out of the hybrid sector and focusing on fuel cell development. Hyundai subsequently announced a tie-up with hydrogen plant builder Linde AG to promote fuel cell vehicles.

On the governmental side, in the U.S. the recently formed Hydrogen Technical Advisory Committee (HTAC) is rapidly getting to its feet. It will advise the Department of Energy on how to spend the $215 million budget that has been earmarked for hydrogen research and development for fiscal year 2007. Although the newly appointed board reflects a diverse range of interests, the fuel cell industry is well represented with Jadoo Power Systems, Plug Power and UTC Power all contributing members.

On the 29th June Plug Power formally secured a previously announced $217 million cash investment from Russian investment firm Interros and Norilsk Nickel. This is one of the most important fuel cell news stories of the year, and Fuel Cell Today will be publishing an article on the deal on the Fuel Cell Today website.

Certification is again in the news. Following on from last month’s report that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. were developing a performance rating system for residential fuel cells, the European Union announced that the aviation industry and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have begun development of a certification basis for fuel cells on board aircraft. Also PolyFuel announced that it has received ISO-9001:2000 certification for the design and manufacture of its fuel cell membranes, making it one of the earliest suppliers to achieve the high product standards required for mass commercialization. This took almost two years of effort to achieve, but with it mass portable fuel cell markets have edged a little bit closer.

Finally, Fuel Cell Today is pleased to announce that the Fuel Cell Today Military Survey 2006 is up on its site and available for free downloading. It provides an overview of new developments in this active sector, and you can access it through the ‘Surveys’ section of the site,

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