ARCHIVED - Community-Based Innovation -- Vancouver's Hydrogen Highway

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December 05, 2005— Ottawa, Ontario

NRC continued to help stimulate community-based innovation across Canada. In Vancouver, NRC was one of several partners that worked together to help launch the unique, large-scale demonstration project that will help profile and test fuel cell technologies being developed in British Columbia.

Ford Focus fuel cell-powered vehicle from the Vancouver Fuel Cell Vehicle Program.
Ford Focus fuel cell-powered vehicle from the Vancouver Fuel Cell Vehicle Program.

On April 1, 2004, at GLOBE 2004, the Right Honourable Prime Minister Paul Martin announced Canada's plans to build a Hydrogen HighwayTM from the Vancouver Airport to Whistler, in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics. The project is part of the 2010 Olympics' plan for a sustainable Olympics. The Hydrogen HighwayTM is also a key component in the BC Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Strategy.

NRC, along with original partners B.C. Hydro and Methanex Corporation, first launched the concept of a hydrogen highway demonstration project in 2002. During 2004-2005, the plan moved from concept to reality.

International Partnerships Accelerating Oilsands Research

NRC chemical process researchers in Ottawa are working together with the University of Petroleum in Beijing on an Athabaska Oil Sands project. A continuing collaboration will allow the exchange of staff and expertise and give NRC access to key facilities for research on extraction techniques at a larger scale than is possible in Canada. Coupled with a parallel agreement with Syncrude Canada, this collaboration is critical to the future development of oil sands in Canada.

The Hydrogen HighwayTM is a coordinated, large-scale demonstration and deployment program intended to accelerate the commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies developed in Canada. Along with NRC, several other Government of Canada organizations, including Industry Canada and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), are partnering with the province of British Columbia in this project. Fuel Cells Canada now manages the program, while Ballard Power Systems is the program champion.

The project comprises seven nodes – each with plans for its own sustainable microcosm employing hydrogen fueling infrastructure as well as a range of transportation and stationary applications. In the past year, the NRC Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation, with funding from NRCan, launched the Hydrogen Highway'sTM first hydrogen refueling station. One of the first users of what is now known as the Pacific Spirit station is the Vancouver Fuel Cell Vehicle Program, a recently-launched $5 million initiative that will test and evaluate Ford Focus Fuel Cell Vehicles, in real-world applications, over the next several years.

Science at Work for Canada, NRC's 2004-2005 Annual ReportScience at Work for Canada
NRC's 2004-2005 Annual Report

Success stories featured in the annual report highlight just a few of NRC's achievements and their impact on the lives of Canadians.
Take a few minutes to read some of NRC's stories!

By creating an early adopter community of technology developers and users throughout British Columbia, the Hydrogen HighwayTM will play an integral role in removing barriers to hydrogen and fuel cell commercialization. The project will help Canada develop a critical mass of expertise, knowledge, and experience in this field. It will provide data for developing international codes and standards to govern the implementation and use of these technologies. Best of all, it will stimulate demand for the technology by allowing the media and general public to see first-hand the benefits of a hydrogen economy. Furthermore, it will open doors for international partnership and will create a hydrogen infrastructure legacy associated with a high-profile international event.

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada

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