Following a meeting with Minister of Natural Resources Canada Herb Dhaliwal, U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced Canada’s support for the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy.Ottawa, Canada – October 23, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “We are pleased to learn of Canada’s decision to support the partnership for hydrogen and fuel cell technology research, development and demonstration activities,” Secretary Abraham said. “International cooperation is key to achieving the hydrogen and fuel cell program goals outlined by President Bush in his last State of the Union address.” Secretary Abraham called for international hydrogen collaboration in his speech to the International Energy Agency Ministerial Meeting last April in Paris, France. The Secretary will host a Ministerial Meeting of the International Partnership this fall in the United States. Several other countries have shown interest in joining the partnership. The International Partnership will support the deployment of hydrogen energy technologies, establishing collaborative efforts in hydrogen production, storage, transport, and end-use technologies; common codes and standards for hydrogen fuel utilization; and the sharing of information necessary to develop hydrogen fueling infrastructure. A growing number of countries have committed to accelerate the development of hydrogen energy technologies in order to improve their energy, economic, and environmental security. For example, the United States has committed US$1.7 billion for the first five years of a long-term research and development program for hydrogen, hydrogen infrastructure, fuel cells, and hybrid vehicle technologies. The European Union has committed up to € 2 billion (US$2.3 billion) to long-term research and development of renewable and hydrogen energy technologies. Canada has a well developed hydrogen and fuel cell technology research and development program addressing applications in the transportation and electric utility sectors. The use of hydrogen as an energy carrier offers several important advantages relative to existing systems. Hydrogen can be derived from multiple feedstocks, which fosters fuel versatility. End-use technologies that employ hydrogen, such as fuel cells, are more efficient and can be used safely while improving the environment and public health. “The vision of the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy is that a participating country’s consumers will have the practical option of purchasing a competitively priced hydrogen power vehicle, and be able to refuel it near their homes and places of work, by 2020,” Secretary Abraham said.