May 9, 2005

PEI project will integrate wind energy, hydrogen technologies for clean power systems

Hydrogenics and Prince Edward Island Energy Corporation will lead a consortium of industry and government partners to develop Canada's first wind-hydrogen village demonstration. The multi-year PEI Wind-Hydrogen Village Project will demonstrate, in real life and real time, ways in which wind energy and hydrogen technologies can work together to offer clean, sustainable sources of energy for a wide range of applications.

The $10.3-million initiative is receiving an investment of $5.1 million through Technology Partnerships Canada's Hydrogen Early Adopters (h2EA) program. The PEI government will invest $2.9 million in the three-year project, with $2.5 million coming from earnings from the North Cape Wind Farm and $425,000 from Prince Edward Island Business Development. In addition, Natural Resources Canada is contributing $115 000, through the Canadian Transportation and Fuel Cell Alliance, toward an engineering study being carried out for the hydrogen fuelling stations component of this project. Hydrogenics will serve as project manager for the PEI Wind-Hydrogen Village.

Based at the western tip of Prince Edward Island, between Seacow Pond and North Cape, the project will use wind energy as the primary energy source and produce hydrogen to provide backup and primary electricity for industrial, farm and household needs, as well as hydrogen fuel for transportation and other requirements.

A range of engine technologies will be showcased, including fuel cells, purpose-built hydrogen internal combustion engines and retrofitted internal combustion engines. Using an integrated hydrogen power generation system, the project will provide real-life demonstration opportunities, permitting the evaluation and refinement of cost-effective hydrogen systems.

Phase One of the project includes the installation of a hydrogen energy station, a hydrogen storage depot, and a wind-hydrogen and wind-diesel integrated control system to power a number of homes and buildings within North Cape.

The next phase is expected to include the expansion of the wind-hydrogen village to allow for a farm operation, and hydrogen transportation solutions, such as shuttle buses and fuel-cell utility vehicles.

The final phase of the project will involve the introduction of a hydrogen-powered tour boat. The boat will be retrofitted with an engine that has the ability to run on pure hydrogen, but with a diesel fall-back system.

The prospective solutions will meet the needs of the local community and be easily replicable in other locations in Canada. The project will develop the Canadian hydrogen supply chain as well as marketable knowledge, services and electronic applications, tested and proven in real-life situations, and showcased to the world.

Over the next three years, the PEI Wind-Hydrogen Village Project will demonstrate technologies and systems for a range of energy applications, including the installation of a hydrogen energy station, a hydrogen storage depot, and a wind-hydrogen and wind-diesel integrated control system to power the North Cape Interpretive Centre Complex, the Atlantic Wind Test Site, as well as other homes and buildings in the North Cape area.

Subsequent phases are expected to include a hydrogen refueling station in Charlottetown to support the refuelling needs of up to three full service hydrogen shuttle buses used in Charlottetown and the Charlottetown-North Cape corridor, as well as the deployment of fuel cell utility vehicles and the expansion of the wind-hydrogen village to provide energy for additional buildings and facilities, including at least one farm operation.

The final phase of the project is expected to involve the introduction of a hydrogen-powered tour boat. Further details on this project and its partners will be released in the coming months.

The Prince Edward Island Energy Corporation is a provincial Crown corporation, established to develop and promote energy systems within Prince Edward Island in response to the province's dependence on imported electricity, and thermal and transportation fossil fuels.

The Atlantic Wind Test Site, one of the corporation's current areas of focus, was established at North Cape in 1980 as Canada's only national wind energy laboratory, and has become the country's premier research and development centre for wind energy. PEI now draws more than 5% of its electricity from wind energy at North Cape, which is the primary site of the PEI Wind-Hydrogen Village Project.

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