London, 15th March 2005. London’s Tower Bridge Design Museum today played host to a rather special occasion. In front of national press and industry figures, Dr. Harry Bradbury and the Intelligent Energy team revealed “the world’s first purpose-built fuel cell motorbike”, the Intelligent Energy ENV (Emissions Neutral Vehicle).
As excited attendees talked amongst themselves, a very faint whirring sound suddenly announced the presence of one white and one black ENV. The motorbikes, sleek, polished and performing brilliantly, attracted attention from passers-by and the media alike, and spent around 15 minutes gliding up and down the walkway that separates the Design Museum and the River Thames. They were very quiet and certainly looked comfortable, easy and practical to ride.
As the BBC were there to report, this launch should really bring home to government policy makers that fuel cell technology is real and it is coming. Japan aims to have 50 000 fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) on the road by 2010 and Arnold Schwarznegger, Governor of California is already implementing a Hydrogen Highway that will serve cross-state commuters, to name but two of the many projects happening around the world right now involving hydrogen and fuel cell technology.
Europe and the UK in particular are falling far behind in the race for commercialisation. The fuel cell was invented in the UK in the 19th century by Sir William Robert Grove and there are a large number of innovative UK companies with excellent technology, vision and human resources. Without more government support it is likely that instead of enjoying a world-class fuel cell industry and leading the world with clean and sustainable energy technologies bought from UK companies, the UK will see a massive outflow of technology and personnel and an equally large influx of cheap fuel cell products from around the world.
Most of the Fuel Cell Markets Ltd (FCM) Team were currently in Brussels, supporting Fuel Cell Europe (FCEu) through its annual summit (16th March) and working closely with the World Fuel Cell Council (WFCC) and FCEu on the 17th March as they and their members lobby the European Commission towards further progress at its Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform event. So, it was up to FCM’s Account Manager, David Lockie, to talk with the BBC and try to explain some of the important issues surrounding the fuel cell industry.
“Intelligent Energy launched a fantastic product today,” he explained to Andrew Burroughs, BBC News Correspondent, “and the UK government now has a fantastic opportunity to bring more of these clean, sustainable energy products to the commercial marketplace. It can fund UK fuel cell and hydrogen technology companies, it can introduce tax incentives to encourage the mass adoption of the resultant products and it can take alternative energy technologies into consideration when looking at policy making. For example, investing in public transport makes sense not only now, but it allows for easier introduction of clean fuels in the future. Fleets of public vehicles like council vehicles and buses, and private fleets such as those owned by large companies are generally based around a central location. You can provide the infrastructure to supply fleets with clean fuels like bio-diesel or hydrogen at that base location, rather than having to convert every service station that one might want to fill a private car at. This would allow the UK to bring in carbon-free or carbon-neutral transportation faster and in a far more economical and intelligent way than trying to change the whole country’s fuelling infrastructure at once.”
“The UK government needs to act fast:” he continued “fuel cell technology is coming. Whether it comes from a world-class UK fuel cell industry that is contributing to a strong European economy, or whether it comes from the UK’s competitors in this global marketplace, is really now dependent on how the UK government acts.”
The BBC hope to show this feature over the weekend (19 / 20th March) on BBC Television News. Fuel Cell Markets plans to continue working with the BBC and other media organisations in order to grant maximum exposure to this important subject. If you would like to talk, please get in touch with us using the Fuel Cell Markets details below.
For further information on Intelligent Energy or ENV – the fuel cell motorbike, please contact:
Caroline Collett PR
Yawl Hill Lane
Tel: +44 1297 444 179
For further information on Fuel Cell Markets or fuel cell and hydrogen technologies in general, please contact:
Fuel Cell Markets Ltd
Thorney Weir House
Tel: +44 7956 961796 (mobile)