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Canada mobilizes national research effort to reduce price of fuel cells

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Six Canadian companies have teamed up with 20 top fuel cell scientists and engineers from academia and government to overcome one of the biggest obstacles to the wide-scale production of fuel cell-powered vehicles—the cost. They hope to accomplish this by significantly reducing the amount of platinum used in this next-generation of clean energy vehicles.

Platinum is one of the most expensive precious metals—even more valuable than gold. It is also the most common catalyst used to accelerate the chemical process in proton exchange membrane fuel cells.

This industry-led project is leveraging Canada's expertise in materials science and engineering, electrochemistry, theory and modeling to develop catalysts that are less expensive, better performing and more durable. The results could lower costs for Canadian makers of fuel cells and open new markets.

Canada's competitiveness in the green economy will depend in large part on its ability to produce scientists and engineers with the right skill sets and experience in working with industry. Funding provided through Automotive Partnership Canada and other sources will provide that opportunity to 90 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows over the course of the five-year project. The demand for fuel cell experts is expected to increase as the industry ramps up over the next few years. This next generation of researchers is essential if Canada is to remain at the forefront in this field. Read more...