Monday, November 10, 2008

Room for Fuel Cells in Oregon's Clean Tech Strategy?

Bend fuel cell producer IdaTech got a shout out in today's EnergyBiz Insider .

... economic doldrums are dampening energy demand and affecting the level of investment in emerging technologies. In due course, however, that will change. As the demand for power resumes, regulatory bodies around the globe will insist on greater efficiencies and less pollution. And therein lay the possibilities for fuel cells, which have matured and may soon be ready for prime time.

"The time is now," says Harol Koyama, chief executive of IdaTech, at the Fuel Cell Seminar and Exposition in Phoenix. "The financial issues will go away in 18 months. We will see mass commercialization and consolidation will occur.

Fuel cells haven't gotten much policy play at a state level in Oregon, where their energy storage capabilities are still considered emerging technology. And in a transportation application, Gov. Kulongoski and the transportation visioning committee have focused instead on plug-in electric hybrid technology. But there's still quite a bit of interest in them nationally and established companies, including IdaTech and Clear Edge Power, exist right here in Oregon. If the technology really is poised to grow despite the recession, perhaps there is a place for fuel cells in Oregon's clean tech economic development strategy.

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