Cover image for Powering the future : the Ballard fuel cell and the race to change the world
Powering the future : the Ballard fuel cell and the race to change the world
Koppel, Tom.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Toronto ; New York : Wiley, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 276 pages ; 24 cm
ch. 1. Miracle Valley -- ch. 2. Engine of the future -- ch. 3. Notable surface of action -- ch. 4. Opportunity for Canada -- ch. 5. Small is beautiful -- ch. 6. Three guys and a prayer -- ch. 7. Nugget of gold -- ch. 8. Going for broke -- ch. 9. On the road -- ch. 10. Venturesome but conservative -- ch. 11. Bad blood -- ch. 12. Strategic partners -- ch. 13. Company with a difference -- ch. 14. Starting pistol has been fired -- ch. 15. Intel of the auto industry -- ch. 16. Dare to be different.
Personal Subject:
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD9697.B324 B355 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Powering the Future tells the intriguing story of a tiny high-tech research company that developed one of the few truly revolutionary and transforming technologies of our era. Today, Ballard Power Systems is the world leader in fuel cell technology - a non-polluting energy source that could one day replace the internal combustion engine and power the cars of the future.

Geoffrey Ballard and a handful of colleagues - at the outset little more than "three guys and a prayer" - brought this neglected technology to the world. On gritty determination and a shoestring budget, they took fuel cells out of the lab and into the mainstream of business. They made the fuel cell smaller, cheaper, and vastly more powerful over an astonishingly short time - actually melting down cables as they realized a fifty-fold increase in power output.

Powering the Future not only chronicles the company's impressive rise against stiff odds and intense competition; it also teaches valuable lessons about vision and inspiration, creating a culture of loyalty and dedication, attracting and keeping talented people, and marketing and selling an underdog technology to the biggest players in the auto world. Powering the Future is the entertaining and inspirational account of how a tiny high-tech research company grew, and became poised to literally change the way we live.

Author Notes

Tom Koppel is an award-winning freelance writer. He has contributed feature articles on business, science, history, and travel to national magazines in Canada and the U.S. for nearly twenty years. He has been following the story of the Ballard fuel cell for over ten years, and first wrote about it for the Financial Post Magazine and Reader's Digest. He lives on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Powering the Future is his second book.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

The fuel cell, an electrochemical device powered by hydrogen fuel and oxygen, might become the gasoline-substitute scientists have been searching for. (It generates electricity to drive the car's wheels silently.) In this new book, Canadian financial journalist Koppel details one company's contribution to development of the fuel cell for use in automobiles. Less an inside account than a technical report, the book describes the crucial years of research and development when a small staff with a small budget produced impressive results. But this report is flawed by its lack of cohesion, an over-reliance on technical jargon, and the absence of a real story. (It also lacks an index.) Much like Joe Sherman's Charging Ahead (LJ 7/98), this book prepares us for a world that is still a long way off. Some of the corporate intrigue detailed here is interesting, and the technically advanced may find this book compelling. But lay readers might want to wait for a useful electric car to actually get here before reading about it.√ĄEric C. Shoaf, Brown Univ. Lib., Providence, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. vi
Prefacep. vii
Chapter 1 Miracle Valleyp. 1
Chapter 2 Engine of the Futurep. 25
Chapter 3 A Notable Surface of Actionp. 37
Chapter 4 An Opportunity for Canadap. 51
Chapter 5 Small is Beautifulp. 65
Chapter 6 Three Guys and a Prayerp. 89
Chapter 7 Nugget of Goldp. 105
Chapter 8 Going for Brokep. 119
Chapter 9 On the Roadp. 137
Chapter 10 Venturesome but Conservativep. 159
Chapter 11 Bad Bloodp. 177
Chapter 12 Strategic Partnersp. 195
Chapter 13 Company with a Differencep. 207
Chapter 14 The Starting Pistol Has Been Firedp. 221
Chapter 15 The Intel of the Auto Industryp. 235
Chapter 16 Dare to be Differentp. 253
Endnotesp. 265
Indexp. 273