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Copywrite 2001-2004, California Science Center
Media Contact:  Paula Wagner
(213) 744-7446
April 12, 2004
“Clean Power” the Focus of New Exhibit at the California Science Center

Los Angeles – Fuel cell technology is a clean, efficient energy source regarded by many as the way of the future. It’s been featured in the news and touted by environmentalists yet how many people know what a fuel cell is, how it works or understand why the technology holds such promise for the air quality in Southern California? Visitors can “get up to speed” when they explore a new interactive fuel cell exhibit titled Clean Power at the California Science Center in Exposition Park. The exhibit, which opens to the public on Earth Day, April 22, 2004, explains the science behind fuel cells, demonstrates how they work, presents the environmental benefits of using the technology for transportation, and points to the challenges to be met before fuel cell cars can become a viable option for consumers.

Located in the Transportation Gallery in Creative World, the exhibit incorporates, in its design, a modified Toyota Prius car and features three interactive, multimedia programs with text and audio available in both English and Spanish. Following are the main exhibit components:

  • Fuel Cells Q&A is an interactive multimedia program designed to give brief but compelling answers to some of the most common questions about fuel cells. Visitors can navigate from question to question at a computer set into the passenger window of the Prius. Questions range from the introductory What is a fuel cell?, Is a fuel cell car like an electric car? to the practical What’s it like to drive a fuel cell car? The answers combine interviews with scientists and engineers, real world examples of fuel cells in action, and descriptive animations.
  • The Promise of Fuel Cells provides more in-depth information in three basic areas: How fuel cells work uses 3D animation to explain the chemical reaction that makes electricity from hydrogen with no emissions, and the origin of the hydrogen fuel. Fuel cells in California looks at population growth and the increase in the number of vehicles as contributing to air quality problems, explains how smog is formed, and provides a near real time daily smog report for Los Angeles basin. Interviews with experts in the field address the benefits as well as the challenges of fuel cell technology for transportation. Yesterday, today and tomorrow looks at the surprisingly long history of fuel cells science and technology which began as far back as 1838. It also provides the latest fuel cell news live from the Internet, ensuring that the content is always up-to-date.
  • Interactive fuel cell model looks at the different components in a fuel cell vehicle and how they work together. Visitors can touch different parts of a scale-model fuel cell vehicle, launching a corresponding 3D animation on a screen above. The animation shows the function of that component and how it interacts with the entire system.
  • Comparison sticker, an updateable graphic in the passenger window of the Prius, compares the fuel efficiency and emissions of an internal combustion engine, a hybrid gas/electric vehicle and a fuel cell car. Finally, visitors looking through a cut-out window in the hood of the car will see full-size models of typical Fuel Cell Engine components.

Clean Power is a permanent exhibit developed by the California Science Center with support from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the California Air Resources Board and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc.

Note to Editors: The California Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park just west of the Harbor 110 Freeway at 700 State Drive, Los Angeles. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission to the exhibits is free. For recorded information, including IMAX show times, phone 323.SCIENCE (323.724-3623). IMAX ticket prices range from $4.50 to $7.50. For advance ticket purchases, group rates, or to make free reservations for any visiting group of 15 or more (required), call (213) 744-2019. Parking is available in the guest lot at Figueroa and 39th Street at $6 per car, $10 for buses or oversized vehicles. Both the Science Center and IMAX Theater are wheelchair accessible. For further information, please visit our website at www.californiasciencecenter.org.

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