New Mercedes-Benz fuel cell plant opens in Burnaby
The new Mercedes-Benz fuel cell production and technology development facility, which has created 50 jobs, saw its grand opening in South Burnaby Thursday.
As announced in March 2011, Mercedes-Benz has converted a 3,300 square metre section of a Ballard Power facility, investing $53 million in the new plant, according to a provincial government press release.
As reported in the NewsLeader last year, after a testing and commissioning phase, production of compact next-generation fuel-cell stacks will start in 2013, with the stacks being shipped to Germany for use in sedans such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class or E-Class.
Mercedes-Benz’ parent company, Daimler, is a 50.1 per cent partner in the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC), along with Ford Motor Company (30 per cent) and Ballard (19.9 per cent), which has developed the fuel cell stack technology.
The fuel cells are like large batteries powered by hydrogen which create electricity with only water vapour as emissions. The cells are stacked together as in a CD rack for use in vehicles.
Already, the fuel cell stack is being used in the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL and the Citaro FuelCell Hybrid city bus.
At the time, a Mercedes-Benz Canada spokeswoman said the decision to locate the facility in Burnaby had much to do with it being within close walking distance to Ballard.
In collaboration with B.C.'s world-class fuel cell research and development cluster, Mercedes-Benz is working toward reducing the cost of fuel cell technology for future generations, the release said.
"We applaud the province's multi-faceted, forward-thinking approach that has encouraged the concentration of many brilliant minds focused on research and development in this region," said Tim A. Reuss, president and CEO, Mercedes-Benz Canada, in the release. "There is no better place to open the world's first facility dedicated to the production and production technology development of fuel cell stacks."
Seventy-seven per cent of the world's fuel cell research and development expenditure happens in British Columbia. The global market for fuel cell energy technology is expected to be worth over $8.5 billion by 2016.