Canada has made a significant investment in fuel cell technology and nowhere is this investment more obvious than in Vancouver.
Vancouver houses the National Research Council’s Institute for Fuel Cell Research and is the location of one of the world’s most important fuel cell manufacturing companies: Ballard.
The current and future success of fuel cells will be built upon materials. In order to bring fuel cells to their current state, many materials innovations arising from the work of materials engineers have been necessary. Solid oxide fuel cells have required new developments in the processing and structure of ceramic materials that can be operational at high temperatures. Polymers are integral to proton exchange membranes used in the types of fuel cells being designed for automobiles.
Lars Rose, a former Ph.D. student in the Department of Materials Engineering at UBC discusses fuel cell technology with CityTV and Bob MacDonald.
Beyond the fuel cells themselves, materials engineers have been devoting themselves to a myriad of other issues surrounding fuel cells. The success of fuel cells in vehicles hinges upon our ability to safely find ways to store and transport hydrogen “on board”.
Materials engineers work both in industry and research focusing on the processing and properties of fuel cell technology – MTRL faculty, alumni and graduate students are involved in this field. As the demand for fuel cells grows, so too will be the demand for materials engineers with expertise in their behaviour.