October 4, 2004

Hydrogen Early Adopters program invests $7.1M in real-world projects

The federal government is investing $7.1 million in three hydrogen and hydrogen-compatible technology demonstration projects through its Hydrogen Early Adopters (h2EA) program. Industry Minister David Emerson announced the funding at the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells 2004 Conference, held last week in Toronto.

The h2EA program has invested $935 000 in a project led by Fuel Cell Technologies (FCT), of Kingston, Ontario. FCT is collaborating with the University of Toronto at Mississauga and with Ontario Power Generation to demonstrate residential heating and power generation using four solid oxide fuel cells within a townhouse-style student residence at U of T's Mississauga campus.

The four 5kWe solid oxide hydrogen fuel cells are arranged in a mini-grid formation to provide heating and power generation in a residential application. In addition to potential increased energy efficiency and cost savings for the university, this project will offer an exceptional educational opportunity to the students who will monitor the system. It will also assist in the development of standards and codes for the use and installation of fuel cells in residential applications.

A $2-million investment is being made in the second project, led by Ballard Power Systems of Burnaby, BC. This project will involve the use of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell-based uninterruptible power supply back-up systems in three distinct real-world settings: an industrial/commercial mixed-use building; a telecommunications industry switching station; and in server rooms as a back-up power solution for uninterruptible power supplies. The demonstrations will take place at the National Research Council's Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation in Vancouver, a Bell Canada facility in the Greater Toronto Area, and at the University of Toronto, respectively.

The use of hydrogen fuel cells in transportation will be the focus of the third project, allocated a $4.2-million investment through the h2EA program. Led by Mississauga-based Hydrogenics, the demonstrations will include hydrogen-powered delivery and utility vehicles, a hydrogen production and refuelling facility at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) grounds in Toronto, and the further development of on-board and off-board monitoring and diagnostic tools.

Another project, already under way under Hydrogenics' leadership, will demonstrate hydrogen fuelling solutions for utility vehicles at the CNE site in Toronto. This is intended to showcase advances in the area of equipment reliability for both hardware and software tools, as well as the feasibility of hydrogen and hydrogen-compatible technologies for use in the utility vehicle, vehicle fleet operation and back-up power markets.

The Technology Partnerships Canada h2EA program is intended to accelerate the market adoption of hydrogen and hydrogen-compatible technologies in Canada through the funding of demonstration projects led by consortia of industry leaders. The program showcases working models of hydrogen and hydrogen-compatible technologies in real-world settings.

Also at the conference, Hydrogenics announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation (TWRC). Under the MOU, the two organizations will explore ways in which hydrogen fuel cell technologies and hydrogen production can support and build on the sustainable development goals of the TWRC. They will seek out opportunities such as specific demonstration projects designed to showcase hydrogen and fuel cell technology and its benefits for waterfront revitalization. Potential projects could include hydrogen-powered water shuttles, hydrogen-powered police patrols, and hydrogen-powered fleet projects.

Hydrogenics and the TWRC have further agreed to examine the possibility of planning for a "Green Zone" within the waterfront where clean energies could be promoted in daily operations within that area. This could also attract future siting of companies and organizations which would contribute to this future direction, such as progressive sustainability-minded companies, environmental think-tanks, academia, non-governmental organizations, and government partners.

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