BC, Scandinavia to collaborate on H2 Highways

Vancouver, Canada – British Columbia will collaborate with the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Denmark and Sweden to create the infrastructure needed to support fuelling and deployment of hydrogen vehicles in their respective ‘hydrogen highways’.

British Columbia’s Hydrogen Highway (BC Hydrogen Highway) Steering Team and the Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership (SHHP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizing their intent to collaborate based on meetings at the 2007 Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Conference and Trade Show in Vancouver last month.

The MOU unites the participants in jointly addressing common barriers to the commercial deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The objectives of this partnership include: supporting the development of codes and standards that encourage the introduction of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies; sharing best practices related to hydrogen station installations and vehicle operations; coordinating product specifications; and increasing public awareness and encouraging collaboration in the application of new hydrogen and fuel cell products.

“The development of hydrogen infrastructure for transportation is such a fundamental transformation that it really requires all levels of government and industry to come together to solve shared challenges faced in each of our jurisdictions,” said Denis Connor, who Chairs the BC Hydrogen Highway Steering Team.

“With the commitment signed here today, we have made an important step in declaring our intention to work together and to exchange information and ideas with other global leaders.” said Ulf Hafseld, Chairman of the Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership.

A “hydrogen highway” more generally refers to a network of hydrogen fuelling stations for hydrogen fuel cell powered buses and vehicles. Hydrogen can be efficiently converted to electricity without combustion and with zero emissions using a fuel cell. Deploying fuel cell technology, and the required infrastructure to support it, is considered an activity of international scope and importance.

The SHHP is constituted by the national hydrogen highway networks of Norway (HyNor), Sweden (Hyfuture), and Denmark (Hydrogen Link), with the purpose of making the Scandinavian region one of the first regions in Europe where hydrogen is commercially available and used in a network of refuelling stations.

The BC Hydrogen Highway initiative seeks to establish a network of hydrogen fuelling and distribution infrastructure between Victoria, Vancouver and Whistler. Participants will be able to evaluate, improve and refine the performance of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in conjunction with other early adopter organizations, to further advance commercialization objectives.

The BC project is largely a voluntary, consensus driven organization of industry and government. The Steering team consists of two representatives from each of the Government of Canada, the Province of BC and from industry.

Projects thus far include the $18 million Integrated Waste Hydrogen Utilization Project, which is now capturing hydrogen from a chemical processing facility and using it to supply a vehicle fuelling station as well as power a car wash in North Vancouver. Partners include Sacre-Davey Innovations and Westport Innovations.

BC has contributed $45 million towards production of 20 hydrogen buses and development of hydrogen fuelling stations in Whistler and Victoria by the end of 2009, and procurement of the hydrogen bus fleet is now underway.

BC is also collaborating with California and other Western U.S. states to develop a coastal hydrogen highway - a network of hydrogen fuelling stations that would allow a hydrogen vehicle to travel from British Columbia to Baja California. A recent MOU signed by BC Premier Gordon Campbell and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reaffirmed commitment to the project.

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