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September 2012

On the forefront of green technology

In the race to develop commercially-viable zero-emission vehicles, car manufacturers are keen to be on the cutting-edge of fuel cell research and development. Burnaby-based Automotive Fuel Cell Co-operation (AFCC) is a key player in bringing Ford and Daimler to the forefront of the industry as the sole supplier of fuel cell stacks to these companies.

The company is working with tight industry deadlines, hoping to commercialize their fuel cells for use in consumer vehicles within a few years’ time whilst competing against the likes of Hyundai and Toyota.  As part of its bid to be on the cutting-edge of the technology, AFCC engaged in a Mitacs Elevate Post-Doctoral Fellowship with Dr. Ehsan Sadeghi of Simon Fraser University to develop accurate models of platinum alloy catalyst deployment used in the operation of a vehicle fuel cell.

Greg Frenette, Director of Research & Development for Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation acknowledges Mitacs Elevate as a fundamental program for facilitating relationships that will help them to produce important prototypes for their two clients: 

“Ehsan bridges the gap between the core research at the university with his supervisor, Dr. Michael Eikerling, and our product-focused research in-house. In this case, Mitacs Elevate allowed our company to advance on a fundamental project for which we did not previously have the necessary expertise. “

Dr. Sadeghi is also seeing the benefits of Mitacs Elevate:

“Mitacs Elevate provided me the opportunity to be actively engaged in this cutting-edge research field. The financial and technical support of the program improved my progress in research and made me more active and energetic in the work environment. During this past year, I have attended several Mitacs Step and Elevate workshops and used the techniques that I learned from them in my presentations, meetings, and project planning. Overall, Mitacs Elevate has helped to develop my professional and personal skills and prepared me for my future career.”

Through the close collaboration of academia and industry such as this between Drs. Sadeghi and Eikerling and Automotive Fuel Cell Co-operation, Mitacs Elevate is playing a part in taking the automotive industry into a more-sustainable 21st century.