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Ontario unveils fuel cell research program


Mississauga, ON – A new fuel cell innovation program in Ontario will provide $3 million in annual funding through 2007-08 with a focus on commercialization and moving products to the manufacturing stage.

Fuel cells power vehicles, homes, offices, cell phones and appliances. The emerging technology is also being developed to improve manufacturing processes that will benefit Ontario’s large-scale industries. Fuel cells, which are made by combining hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, represent the next generation of clean alternative energies. With the only emissions being water and heat, the environmental and health benefits can be significant in terms of improved air and water quality. Energy generated from fuel cells relieves distribution pressure on the power grid and the heat emitted can potentially be captured and used to heat residences and offices during the winter.

"Ontario’s fuel cell program is great news for this relatively new growth sector," says Pierre Rivard, CEO of Hydrogenics and chair of Fuel Cells Canada. "Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are being developed for a wide range of uses that will touch our lives in many ways – at home, at work, and in the manufacturing industries that power our economy. Ontario’s investments will help us accelerate development and adoption of the technology right here in our home province."

The program also builds on the government’s recent announcement of a new Centre of Excellence for Energy. The centre is intended to further the government’s innovation agenda by encouraging research and development into leading edge and emerging energy sources and technology.

Fuel cell activity is growing across industries and regions in the province. Two clusters, in Kingston and the Greater Toronto Area, are already developing fuel cell technologies.

The innovation program also has the goal of strengthening links with the US Great Lake States of New York, Ohio and Michigan, where state governments support aggressive hydrogen and fuel cell programs.