- to create early commercial markets for hydrogen and fuel cell applications
- to identify key stakeholder champions who will continually promote the Canadian hydrogen and fuel cell industry
- to educate government, public, media, and potential end-users about the long-term benefits of hydrogen and fuel cells
- to encourage investment in demonstration projects and purchases of hydrogen and fuel cell products
- to encourage the development of other hydrogen and fuel cell technology clusters
- to ensure a widespread market is developed
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A Hydrogen Village is the deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies within a defined geographic area driven by an end-user community. The Hydrogen Village model lends itself to integration with other alternative energy technologies, such as nuclear, wind and solar power.
The illustration below shows how hydrogen and fuel cells can be used in the community. Very simply put, whenever hydrogen is used as a fuel in place of a fossil fuel or other hydrocarbon there is no carbon available to create the host of emissions associated with local and global pollution. This means that internal combustion engines (ICEs) may operate with near zero emissions and fuel cells can achieve zero emission energy production (depending on the source of the hydrogen).
Fuel cells are highly efficient devices that generate electricity by combining oxygen and hydrogen. This reaction produces electricity and water.
Most hydrogen today is generated by steam methane reforming. However, hydrogen can also be generated by a process called electrolysis in which electricity is used to split molecules of water into oxygen and hydrogen. Electricity is generated by recombining oxygen and hydrogen using an ICE driven generator or a fuel cell. This electricity can be used to power vehicles, buildings, and equipment. When the electricity for electrolysis comes from sources that do not create air pollution such as nuclear, wind, and solar power the entire process results in zero emissions.
Fuel cells can also be powered by natural gas or methanol. Fuel cells of this type produce less carbon dioxide than conventional devices that use these fuels because they are very efficient.
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Pierre Rivard, of Hydrogenics, first proposed the “hydrogen village” concept during the 2003 Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Conference in Vancouver. It was a natural consequence of a relationship formed between Hydrogenics and the City of Toronto to demonstrate hydrogen and fuel cell technologies at the Exhibition Place site in Toronto.
At the same time, Siemens Westinghouse and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) chose the University of Toronto at Mississauga(UTM) as the site for a demonstration project. This gave rise to UTM’s proposal to develop a Centre for Emerging Energy Technologies, which would deploy a range of fuel cell and other emerging energy technologies on its campus. Representatives from the City of Toronto, the University of Toronto at Mississauga, Hydrogenics, Stuart Energy, OPG, Ballard, Fuel Cell Technologies, Air Liquide, Conveyor Roller, and Fuel Cells Canada (FCC) drafted the framework document for Hydrogen Village.
Participants in this plan agreed that government and industry needed to work together to support demonstration projects, provide early purchaser opportunities, and show leadership in overcoming the challenges that face fuel cell commercialization in Canada.
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Hydrogen Village is a public-private partnership that relies on the participation of various government funding programs for support. At the same time, investment must be made by industry and early adopters in order to share the risk. The cost-shared program includes a funding split between government and project participants.
Hydrogen Village helps meet federal government funding objectives and aids Canadian companies in securing funding. It does not stand between government funding agencies and companies seeking funds directly, but facilitates the process of securing funding for hydrogen and fuel cell projects.
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