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B.C. technology fuels clean hydrogen vehicles

By Contributor
May 17th, 2011

The world’s first small-scale hydrogen liquefaction plant will be built in North Vancouver.

B.C.-based Hydrogen Technology and Energy Corporation (HTEC), and Sacré-Davey Engineering, along with international partner Air Liquide, are building this innovative, high-tech plant — with $870,000 in provincial funding.

They will use local by-product hydrogen to produce low-carbon liquefied hydrogen to power hydrogen fuel cell buses and vehicles throughout the Pacific Northwest. The plant should start producing clean, green hydrogen in about 18 months.

This plant will help fuel the Green Highway that will power hydrogen, electric, biofuel and natural gas vehicles from B.C. to California.

“Innovation like this by B.C. companies shows why the province is and will remain a world-centre for hydrogen and fuel cell technology,” said Premier Christy Clark. “We will continue to champion made-in-B.C. hydrogen, electricity, and natural gas as clean, green fuels of the future for B.C. families.”

Quick facts

  • The hydrogen liquefaction plant will produce 1200 kg/day of liquid hydrogen. This is enough to fuel a fleet of over 1,500 passenger fuel cell vehicles or 50 transit busses.
  • The plant will provide about 18 local high tech jobs.
  • The plant plans to use proprietary technology and processes developed by HTEC for purification and Air Liquide’s Advanced Technical Group from France for liquefaction.
  • British Columbia is a recognized world centre for hydrogen and fuel cell technology and is home to 35 companies.
  • An estimated 75 per cent of Canadian fuel cell and hydrogen-based research and development expenditures have been invested in British Columbia. 
  • In B.C., there are 35 organizations employing 1,200 people working on the design and manufacturing of fuel cells, including Ballard Power Systems, Angstrom Power, the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation, Powertech Labs, HTEC and Sacre-Davey Engineering.
  • 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.
  • A fuel cell operates similar to a battery, but 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.

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