Saturday, July 19, 2003

Fuel Cells - Never Going to Happen?

It's never going to happen. I hear that a lot about fuel cells. I remember playing with fuel cells in the late 80's when I was working on a high temperature superconductor propulsion system - a science fair project that took a life of its own. The concept of a renewable energy source didn't mean much at the time, however the science did. Then came the first gulf war and I learned about the politics of energy. Then there was Geoffrey Ballard and the economics of fuel cells. Learning about fuel cells piecemeal over the last decade and a half, I wonder how the statement could be true - it's never going to happen. Most mass market technology adoption takes 25 years or more. Just look at the cell phone. In 1973 (my birth year) Martin Cooper invented the cell phone. Cellular technology itself was invented in the 40s and only deployed on a large scale in the 80's. Today, GSM, CDMA, TDMA and more dominant the airwaves. Kids in Europe have their mobiles or handy's or...I never had a cell phone when I was a kid. I had an Atari 800XL and today I have more computing power than that in my new Blackberry. How can fuel cell technology never go mainstream? It makes too much sense not to. It's only a matter of time.