Energy Minister predicts strong future for fuel cells

May 16, 2006

London, 15 May 2006

"Cars, homes, laptops and mobile phones, could all in future be powered by revolutionary fuel cells, and investors in this sector today are getting ahead of tomorrow's game", is the message from Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks today as he underlines the exciting opportunities in the sector for the financial community at a specially convened DTI conference in London.

The conference, which has been organised with Fuel Cells UK, aims to raise awareness of the technology and further increase its development and deployment.

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.

Malcolm Wicks said: "The continuing growth in fossil fuel use around the world is bringing major problems that have to be dealt with if we are going to arrest climate change. The Government wants a 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 and new sustainable energy technologies such as fuel cells can help us move towards that target.

"The versatility of fuel cells means that 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"

Peter Bance, Fuel Cells UK Chairman said: "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. This maturing of the industry has been reflected in the growing number of IPOs in the sector with investors keen to back future winners which will deliver attractive returns.

"Drivers such as global warming, energy security, fuel poverty and urban pollution are all high on the political agenda. Fuel cells are well placed to deliver positive solutions to address these challenges. The combination of alignment with policy objectives, the global market potential of fuel cells and the exciting developments in the UK industry makes this event particularly timely."

Notes to Editors

Further information on the Government support for fuel cell technology: http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/sources/sustainable/hydrogen/page26734.html Fuel Cells UK

UK Department of Trade and Industry
News release P/2006/124
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