British Columbia (BC) has announced incentives to increase their support for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and infrastructure. These programs will help create Canada’s first publicly accessible hydrogen refueling station. The initiatives were announced by the Government of BC as a part of its clean energy strategy.
A hydrogen fuel cell does not need to be recharged as it converts the chemical energy of fuel (hydrogen, natural gas, methanol, gasoline, etc.) and an oxidant (air or oxygen) into electricity. It produces almost no emissions.
BC already has the largest number of hydrogen fueling stations in Canada. More than $6 million in provincial funding has been earmarked for new charging stations and upgrades to hydrogen fueling stations at existing facilities.
The news was welcomed by the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association(CHFCA). The announcements from the province led Eric Denhoff, President and CEO of the CHFCA to say:
“These two initiatives are further evidence of the strong commitment the Government of BC has made to supporting British Columbia’s world-leading hydrogen infrastructure, and the organizations involved in the province’s hydrogen and fuel cell sector.”
British Columbia is a world leader in hydrogen fuel cell transportation solutions. An estimated 75 per cent of Canadian fuel cell and hydrogen-based research and development expenditures have been invested in British Columbia.
The government of BC’s investments in hydrogen are also creating green energy jobs in the province. The province is home to 35 hydrogen and fuel cell technology companies that employ 1,200 people. These companies include Ballard Power Systems, Angstrom Power, the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation, Powertech Labs, HTEC and Sacre-Davey Engineering.
The Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation in Burnaby is a company that employs more than 200 people. The province also attracted Mercedes-Benz to build a fuel cell manufacturing facility in Burnaby. In March 2011, Mercedes-Benz Canada announced plans to build the new facility.
By 2016, global sales for the hydrogen and fuel cell sector are estimated to be $8.5 billion, creating an estimated 14,000 jobs in Canada. BC Transit already has fleet of 20 hydrogen-powered fuel cell buses in Whistler which is the largest deployment of its kind in the world.
“These announcements by the Government of BC create tremendous momentum for the hydrogen and fuel cell industry,” said Mr. Denhoff. “We have world-class research and development at the NRC Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation and UBC’s Clean Energy centre; world-leading manufacturing at Ballard and the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation; and a host of innovative small and medium enterprises supporting the research and development efforts in the province.”
For more information about BC’s hydrogen initiatives including which vehicles qualify under the new program click here.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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