Government of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada


Canada is a long time supporter of world leading hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. Since the mid-1980s, the Government of Canada has invested over $300 million in research, development and demonstrations for hydrogen and fuel cells. Since 2001, industry has partnered with government by investing $982M in joint activities. The results from those investments led to world leading scientific breakthroughs and demonstrations. Today, Canadian technology is used in more than 60% of all hydrogen and fuel cell demonstrations worldwide. Canada also exports more than 90% of its hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

Below is a list of some recent Canadian accomplishments in research, development and demonstrations. The common goals of all the activities are the reduction of costs and the improvement of safety, durability and energy-efficiency. Reducing costs remains the critical to hydrogen and fuel cells becoming commercially viable, particularly in the transportation sector.

World First 1 Million Mile Bus Fleet

The 20 fuel cell bus fleet operated by BC Transit in Whistler, British Columbia and powered by Ballard FCvelocity TM-HD6 fuel cell modules, surpassed 1 million miles of revenue service. The BC Transit fleet is the world’s largest hydrogen fuel cell-powered bus fleet. The fleet is fuelled by the world’s largest hydrogen fuelling station, dispensing up to 1,000kg per day since it went into service approximately 2 years ago.

By end-November 2011, the fleet operated a total of 80,000 hours. More than 9,600 safe refuellings had been completed. Two thousand and two hundred tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were avoided, which is equivalent to removing approximately 400 passenger vehicles from the roads.

Largest Fuelling Station in Europe

Hydrogenics Corporation, a Canadian company and a leader in electrolyzer technology, has recently installed four electrolysis based hydrogen fuelling stations in Europe. The station in Hamburg, Germany is currently Europe’s largest hydrogen station, with the capacity to deliver 750 kilograms of hydrogen per day. The Hamburg station will be used to supply hydrogen to 20 fuel cell buses operated by public transport and to fuel cell cars in Germany. Half of the hydrogen supply will be produced on site by electrolysis of water using renewable energy and the other half delivered.

New ISO Standard for Hydrogen Quality Underway

A committee draft was compiled for the development of a new ISO standard on hydrogen fuel product specification, specifically “Part 2: Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell applications for road vehicles”. This standard involves creating a fuel quality standard for fuel cell vehicles. The committee draft will take the standard to the next level of development. Once the standard is complete and available to the public, hydrogen fuel quality will be the same at all hydrogen fuelling stations. This will increase the viability, reliability and durability of fuel cell vehicles.

New MegaWatt PEM Electrolyzer Stack

Hydrogenics has been developing a new megawatt-scale, very compact PEM electrolyser stack platform, suitable for large energy storage capacity for Smart Grid and Renewable Energy applications. The new megawatt-scale PEM electrolyser stack is designed to produce 570 kg/day of hydrogen fuel and would only occupy 0.26 m3 of space. New advances in durability included the continuous operation of the PEM water electrolyser for 24,000 hours with no failure and no performance loss. The convergence of the electric distribution grid with the gas distribution and storage infrastructure in Canada is opening up a new world of flexibility and adaptive capacity for energy.

Advances in Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) Durability and Design

Canadian based Ballard Power Systems Inc. has recently improved the mechanistic understanding of performance loss of MEAs. They also established voltage degradation rates caused by different antioxidants and MEA component designs. These achievements will enable the development of new robust long-life MEA design options that could increase a fuel cell membrane life up to 10 times and reduce its performance loss three to four fold over existing MEAs.