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Canada’s Fuel Cell Industry Holding its Charge

Fuel cell proponents from business, science, academia and government spent the weekend in Toronto for the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells 2004 Conference and Trade Show. Partnerships were formed between government and industry, and the overall state of the hydrogen economy in Canada was highlighted with a sector profile based on information from the 2002-03 business year. Key officials from Industry Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Fuel Cells Canada, and the Canadian Hydrogen Association helped to open the event.

Toronto, Canada – September 28, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] “Canada is a world leader in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, and we are seeing the result of years of investment in this industry as clusters of expertise develop across the country,” said Ron Britton, President and CEO, Fuel Cells Canada. Revenues in Canada’s fuel cell industry have increased 40 percent overall, and an 87 percent increase in revenue from product sales was recorded during the last business year. The 2004 Sector Profile represents the first comprehensive economic and corporate profile of the Canadian hydrogen and fuel cells industry. Key trends over the past two years include: – 40 percent growth in revenue, evidence of the overall strength of the Canadian industry – 87 percent increase in revenue from products sales, a significant indicator of the evolution of hydrogen technologies from research concept to commercial application – More than double the number of real-world demonstration projects, with 262 projects around the world involving Canadian companies and researchers – Continued significant investment in forward-looking research and development, totaling over CAD $290 million (US$ 228 million) in 2003 “The growing impact of the fuel cell sector is positive,” said John Webster, who leads the fuel cells practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, which worked on the report. “The 2004 Sector Profile shows that the number of Canadian companies involved in the sector, including suppliers, has doubled in the past five years.” Growth is likely to continue with firm government support. Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Joseph Volpe announced funding for six projects that should help move Canada closer to realizing the future of hydrogen. The six projects will receive funding totaling more than CAD $2.2 million (US$ 1.7 million) from the government organization Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) as part of the Canadian Transportation Fuel Cell Alliance (CTFCA). The Hydrogen Village, already a popular program for the government and the University of Toronto in Mississauga, will receive CAD $547,173 towards work to demonstrate hydrogen and fuel cell technology. Individual projects along the Hydrogen Highway are a fueling station in Vancouver, which will receive $404,094 for materials and systems and $945,900 for a hydrogen storage tower. Shuttle buses in Toronto and Ottawa, Ontario; and in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island will become part of a $300,826 hydrogen fueling demonstration. Small-scale studies of hydrogen production options in Alberta will get $8,000; and the city of Whistler will get $27,410 to work on designing the parameters of the city’s role in the Hydrogen Highway. Beyond government initiative, fuel cell systems designer Hydrogenics and the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation (TWRC) plan to sign of a memorandum of understanding to explore ways in which hydrogen fuel cell technologies and hydrogen production can support and build on the sustainable development goals of the TWRC. Potential projects are hydrogen-powered water shuttles, hydrogen-powered police patrols, and hydrogen-powered fleet projects. “TWRC is committed to making Toronto’s waterfront an international model for sustainable development. We want sustainability to define us and be the standard against which we are judged,” said TWRC President John Campbell. In addition to investigating potential pilot projects, Hydrogenics and the TWRC have also agreed to explore planning for a Green Zone within the waterfront where clean energies could be promoted in daily operations within that area.