New clean-tech co-op powers up

Three Canadian organizations involved in the development and commercialization of clean energy technology have joined forces.

The National Research Council Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation, Powertech Labs (the clean energy subsidiary of BC Hydro) and the University of B.C. will work together as the BC Clean Energy Technology Co-operative.

The co-operative plans to act as a unified source of talent, knowledge and expertise for the clean energy sector.

The partnership will focus resources and build a critical mass of expertise and infrastructure in B.C., said Eamonn Percy, Powertech's president and COO.

"This co-operative will accelerate the commercialization of clean energy technology, bringing B.C. solutions to world markets faster, resulting in an expanded clean energy sector," said Percy.

UBC's vice president of research, John Hepburn said "co-ordinated knowledge-support" is needed for global success.

This is needed, said Hepburn, to nurture the innovation process from development through to validation, deployment and commercialization.

"The co-operative will address current gaps to ensure our public and private investment leads to stronger commercial success."

Each of the founding members brings unique value to the co-operative, including research capability, market access or leveraged funding.

Maja Veljkovic, the research's council's director general, said the co-operative builds on the strength of Vancouver's fuel cell technology cluster, which is part of B.C.'s growing network of clean energy companies, investors and cutting-edge research facilities.

"By working together we can tap into national capabilities and international networks to help small companies grow," said Veljkovic, "creating more jobs, exports and GDP from the development of integrated clean energy solutions."

The three organizations will also work with industry and other research partners to identify and develop joint service offerings and project plans.

This may include a shared inventory of technology evaluation facilities and equipment, joint training and expertise development and commercial-scale demonstration programs.