04 Dec 2008
Using public procurement to drive innovation is I believe one of the most effective ways of accelerating the commercialisation of new technologies. Too often we see governments throwing research money at industries, and as you might expect the industries in question lap up the grants and spend time on research. If you study the instances where procurement is the driver, you find that solutions and products are achieved quicker, and more often than not the solution produced is more suited to market demand.
I understand that there are to be 5 Fuel Cell and 5 Hydrogen internal combustion engine powered buses coming into London in April 09 as well. Its good to see a spread of trials. Congratulations to the transport for London (TFL) team.
An interesting note as i have some insight into getting next generation buses into London, as well as next generation stationary power solutions installed. A large government body (TFL) was key to rapid uptake in the automotive sector. There is no such overseeing government entity for stationary power, thus uptake and deployment is more difficult.
I hope the government makes the findings and operational data public from all the trials. This will enable those who lost the bids to fine tune their products enabling an industry to evolve and not just those involved in the trials.