Hydrogen Highway plan encouraged Mitsubishi to locate H3 Energy in B.C. 

The plan to create a Hydrogen Highway between Vancouver and Whistler was a contributing factor in Mitsubishi’s recent decision to locate its global hydrogen production equipment business, H3 Energy, in British Columbia.

"We looked at a number of factors before choosing Vancouver," explained John Tak, a spokesperson for Mitsubishi Canada Limited. "Among other factors… we chose Vancouver because there is a lot of activity in the fuel cell sector. The Hydrogen Highway is one of those activities."

The Hydrogen Highway project as planned will see hydrogen refueling stations set up at a number of points between the Vancouver International Airport and Whistler. The project is slated for completion in time for the 2010 Olympics, where it will be showcased by making available a variety of fuel cell vehicles to shuttle people between events and venues.

According to Tak, H3 Energy is currently considering ways to become involved in the Hydrogen Highway project.

Mitsubishi’s move, announced on July 27, will also benefit British Columbia by contributing $14 million into the provincial economy and reinforcing Canada’s reputation as a leader in the hydrogen technology industry.

"Mitsubishi’s decision to move to British Columbia demonstrates that our local industry is at the vanguard of developing high efficiency hydrogen technologies that will revolutionize how energy is produced, delivered and consumed," Richard Neufeld, minister of Energy and Mines, said in a written statement.

"We are home to one of the world’s highest concentration of hydrogen and fuel cell expertise and are a provider of innovative hydrogen energy solutions. We are pleased that Mitsubishi has chosen B.C. and we look forward to a long and successful working relationship with them."

"Mitsubishi Canada is very pleased to be assisting in the establishment of H3 Energy," responded Fumikazu Matsuura, President of Mitsubishi Canada.

"Although many other locations were considered, we concluded that Vancouver is the most effective location from which to launch a company such as this. It is our belief that Mitsubishi can contribute significantly to the Canadian hydrogen technology industry, both through investments such as this and through the strength of our global marketing network."

According to a provincial new release, Mitsubishi has developed an innovative technology to produce hydrogen via electrolysis at high pressure that can be used to greatly improve the operating range of fuel cell vehicles. The equipment is currently being tested and is slated for release next year. Target markets will include small-scale industrial applications, back-up power systems, and hydrogen refueling stations for fuel cell-powered vehicles.

"Thanks to innovative companies like Mitsubishi we are moving toward a better future for British Columbia and for the world" Vancouver-Burrard MLA Lorne Mayencourt commented in the release. "Environmentally friendly hydrogen technology developed here in B.C. will one day heat our homes, power our electronics and fuel our vehicles while we travel the hydrogen highway from Vancouver to Whistler."

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