Canada's Hydrogen Highway More Than Just Another Road
By EV World
It's truly amazing what a difference a border can make.
Alison Grigg is the program manager for Fuel Cell Canada's Hydrogen Highway initiative which plans to build a hydrogen vehicle refueling infrastructure from Vancouver to Whistler, British Columbia in time for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. The Canadian fuel cell industry association plans aren't really all that different from that of the state of California, which plans a similar, though geographically more ambitious Hydrogen Highway to run the length of the state someday.
What sets the two plans apart are the underlying rationales. Where US hydrogen plans are driven by concerns over national security, Canada's efforts are propelled by concerns over climate change and global warming, according to Ms. Grigg.
"Pretty much all of the funding that is dedicated towards [hydrogen fuel cell] demonstrations ultimately comes from a climate change action fund," she explained to the California Hydrogen Business Council, which was meeting on Honda's Torrance, California research and development campus.
Just as surprisingly, Canadian hydrogen and fuel cell technology companies are involved in more than 260 demonstration project around the globe, though in her presentation, Grigg focused on just three of them, all located in Canada: the hydrogen highway, the hydrogen village in Toronto and the Vancouver fuel cell vehicles program, a major partner in which is Ford Motor Company, as well as various Provincial and Canadian federal agencies. Four Ford Focus fuel cell sedans will operate with various fleets in the Vancouver area for a period of three years, letting the average driver operate them in more real world conditions, refueling them through the Hydrogen Highway infrastructure. Griggs identifies seven locations in the Vancouver area where refueling facilities are or will be built.
What's also intriguing about Canada's approach to its Hydrogen Highway is its intention to no only use it to demonstrate hydrogen-fueled cars, be they fuel cell or internal combustion engine driven but to also demonstrate other hydrogen technologies from micro-fuel cells to stationary units, even hythane, a blend of hydrogen and natural gas that is an interesting interim fuel.
"We want to be able to tell the other stories associated with hydrogen fuel cell technologies and help the public see it, feel it and touch it..."
To listen to Ms. Grigg entire 24 minute address, click the Flash-based MP3 player just below the above picture, or download the 5.7 MB MP3 file to your computer hard drive for later playback on your favorite MP3 device.
EV World extends its thanks to the California Hydrogen Business Council for permitting us to record and podcast all of the presentations.