Avista Labs to tout fuel cells at D.C. event

Avista Labs to tout fuel cells at D.C. event

Alison Boggs Staff writer

Avista Labs has been invited to a Washington, D.C., event Thursday in which President Bush is scheduled to speak about his commitment to automotive fuel-cell technology.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to attend this prestigious event,” said Sandra Saathoff, spokeswoman for Avista Labs. She declined further comment, saying the company preferred to make additional statements after the event.

In his State of the Union address, Bush proposed $1.2 billion in federal support for automotive fuelcell technology.

Though Avista Labs is not in that market, the subsidiary of Avista Corp. has been developing fuel cells for use at remote locations since 1995. The company’s fuel cells are used as power sources at wireless phone towers, railroad switches and even at a mountaintop resort in Italy.

Fuel cells use pure hydrogen in an electrochemical reaction that produces electricity. The only byproducts are heat and water, so the cells are touted as a pollution-free way to produce energy.

Avista Labs is on a list of “exhibitors” for the event, but neither the company nor the White House will say what information will be presented to the president.

Avista Labs’ ties to the administration, however, are clear. Mike Davis, CEO of Avista Labs, was an assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy under the first President Bush. Also, Vice President Dick Cheney spent 30 minutes at Avista Labs headquarters when he made an appearance in Spokane during the 2000 campaign.

Others on the exhibitor list for the event are: Air Products and Chemicals, BP, Chevron/Texaco, Daimler/Chrysler, Delphi, Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (Ovonics), Ford, Gas Technology Institute, General Motors, Honda, IdaTech, Jadoo Power Systems, Motorola, MTI Micro Fuel Cells, Nissan, Plug Power, Proton Energy Systems, Teledyne Energy Systems, Toyota, USCAR, and UTC Fuel Cells.

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