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SDTC awards $9.3M for two clean tech projects

Sustainable Development Technology Canada has provided funding worth a total of $9.3 million to Ballard Power Systems for a hydrogen power plant and Westport Innovations for high-horsepower natural gas fuelling.


February 28, 2011
by PLANT STAFF

An interior view of Westport’s High Tech Centre in Vancouver.

Photo: Westport Innovations

VANCOUVER: Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) has provided funding worth a total of $9.3 million to Ballard Power Systems for a hydrogen power plant and Westport Innovations Inc. for high-horsepower natural gas fuelling.

Ballard, the Vancouver-based hydrogen fuel cell developer, has been conditionally awarded up to $7 million to extend the operating life and lower the product cost of its FCgen-1300 fuel cell power plant for the CLEARgen distributed generation system.

A sodium chlorate plant in North Vancouver, BC operated by BC ERCO Worldwide (Superior Plus Corp.’s specialty chemicals division) will host the first application. The plant generates large quantities of hydrogen as a by-product of sodium chlorate production, which can be used to power the CLEARgen system to generate clean electricity.

“This SDTC award, along with the co-investments by Ballard and ERCO, will enable our CLEARgen solution to become more competitive with grid power in regions that support zero-emission clean energy generation,” said John Sheridan, Ballard’s president and CEO.

ERCO Worldwide president Paul Timmons, noting electricity represents over 70% of the plant’s input costs, said the new fuel cell power generator will be a valuable cost management tool. “It also supports our corporate goal to make efficient use of available resources as we continue measures to lower our carbon footprint,” he said.

Terasen Gas, an integrated energy provider, will study the feasibility of using heat created by the CLEARgen system for district applications in North Vancouver.

Ballard said the SDTC project funding is contingent on final agreements being reached between Ballard, ERCO Worldwide and BC Hydro. Once they are in place, manufacturing and site commissioning work is planned for 2012-2013.

Westport Innovations has received a funding commitment of $2.3 million from SDTC to develop its Westport HD technology using liquefied natural gas (LNG) for high-horsepower applications.

The Vancouver-based manufacturer of alternative fuel, low-emissions transportation technologies, intends to significantly improve the cost structure for operators of high-horsepower equipment while complying with stringent emission regulations and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 25%.

It notes roughly one fifth of Canada’s energy related greenhouse gas GHG emissions come from industrial freight transportation and emissions and are increasing by approximately 13% per year. Fuel accounts for approximately 20% of rail’s operating expenses, which Westport contends could be significantly reduced using LNG.

The SDTC project, which also involves consortium partners Canadian National Railways Co. and Gaz Métro Transportation Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gaz Métro, the main distributor of natural gas in Quebec, will investigate the design and feasibility of technology for use in mining, rail, and marine applications.

Prototype hardware will be developed with both the fuel and test facility provided by Gaz Métro Transportation Solutions. A Canadian National Railways locomotive will then demonstrate the prototype system.

“This is a great example of how clean technologies can help our existing industries transition to a green economy,” said Vicky Sharpe, President and CEO of SDTC.

SDTC is an arm’s-length foundation created by the Government of Canada that operates two funds aimed at the development and demonstration of innovative technologies.
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