May 2, 2007

British Columbia announces $45 million for hydrogen fuelling station and buses

Vancouver, British Columbia – The premier of British Columbia has announced that the province will provide $45 million for the production of 20 buses and development of hydrogen fuelling stations in Whistler and Victoria. The announcement was made at the Hydrogen & Fuel Cells 2007 international conference and trade show in Vancouver.

“Our goal is to see the world’s first fleet of fuel cell buses on B.C. roads by the end of 2009 to showcase B.C.’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the potential of hydrogen technology as an energy solution,” says Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia. “This funding will ensure that the hydrogen highway that will run from Whistler to Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria will become a reality. We will continue our work with our partners in the U.S. to extend the Hydrogen Highway from Whistler to San Diego by 2010.”

A federal-provincial partnership has committed $89 million for fuelling stations and the world’s first fleet of 20 fuel cell buses. In November, the province dedicated an initial $10 million of that funding to the first phase of the project with a request for proposals that called for the development of a pre-production hydrogen fuel cell bus. B.C. Transit is now in contract negotiations with the top proponent for this initial bus, and the subsequent production phase. This second $45 million allocation will go toward bus production and fuelling stations, while the remaining $34 million will be used by B.C. Transit to operate the fleet for up to five years.

The ultimate goal of the project is to demonstrate the integration of hydrogen fuel cell buses into the regular operational service of an urban transit system, allowing monitoring of operations, maintenance and fuelling over a sustained period.

Premier Campbell also announced $155,000 in government funding to support the development of a new undergraduate fuel cell systems design laboratory at the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems at the University of Victoria; in addition, British Columbia’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Strategy will receive $50,000 for continued outreach and communications.

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