In part three of an exclusive three-part series, Dan Brock, Chair of H2GO Canada and Bob Oliver, CEO of H2GO Canada discuss what they believe to be the hydrogen catalysts driving Canada towards a hydrogen future.
As previously discussed in part two, the accessibility to hydrogen fuel is currently limited to Canadian areas such as British Columbia and Quebec, but the right steps are being made. However, in order to see a true growth of the clean fuel, the Canadian population, along with Government, public bodies and the private sector, need to commit themselves to this change.
“I think people are eager to embrace new technologies that promise a more sustainable future,” said Brock when asked how he thinks the public of Canada will welcome H2GO Canada’s plans.
“I think people are looking for reasons to have hope and believe that it [hydrogen] will work. At the same time, they are appropriately cautious of anything new.”
“They need confidence and I think the best way you can nurture confidence in the use of hydrogen is through the codes and standards, the applicable regulations and first-hand exposure.”
With Canadian hydrogen technology players, such as Ballard and Hydrogenics, playing a significant role in the global market, Brock and Oliver believe that Canada is well positioned to make the hydrogen vision a reality.
“Canada is well represented in the technology capabilities space, but really underrepresented in the local deployment of hydrogen systems which is where a broader array of industrial players have an interest,” said Brock.
“We set about to identify candidates suited to hydrogen energy for the future and found that there were a number of companies that are really starting to think pro-actively about hydrogen and what it means for their business.”
The hydrogen catalyst
More and more in day to day life we are seeing an increased use of hydrogen. The clean fuel alternative is being used in supermarkets, by automobile manufacturers and even by city councils. It is markets like this that H2GO Canada are looking to.
The Canadian Government is already pushing the clean fuel movement through announcements such as its support for a low-carbon transportation system by deploying diesel alternatives such as hydrogen-power and battery electric vehicles.
“You talk about this global hydrogen movement and how hydrogen has burst on the scene, in which Canada has played a very significant role in by exporting its technology. But now we need to start deploying the technology here,” explains Oliver.
“In Canada we have a company called Canadian Tire – which is a major retailer – and they are a leader in embracing hydrogen. Their newest distribution centre expansion project included the installation of hydrogen systems.”
“The hydrogen from electrolysis powers a fleet of hydrogen fuelled forklifts in their warehouse. I think that type of project is going to be a big area for development in the Canadian economy.”
Ultimately, how the Canadian hydrogen market is going to develop in the future will depend on the action’s companies, like Canadian Tire, will take in helping push forward the use of hydrogen within everyday business.
“It is going to begin where the right coalition of companies convene around a specific opportunity that makes hydrogen possible,” said Oliver.
“I believe the real driver is going to be, ‘can we do what we are doing today, but with zero emissions?’”
If companies can answer this question in a positive manner, then without a doubt the cleaner alternative will take off, and if H2GO Canada along with government and other bodies, can cultivate the correct business case through the correct partnerships than the Canadian hydrogen market will grow rapidly.
Brock and Oliver both explained to H2 View that they believe the clean fuel shift will see newer, unexpected companies come to the forefront, leading the way towards a hydrogen future.
“It is going to be much more familiar household brand names that are going to adopt and be associated with hydrogen,” said Oliver.
Looking at the success
A major part of Brock and Oliver’s confidence in the Canadian hydrogen movement comes from what they have seen other countries achieve with their deployments of the clean fuel.
Both are familiar with how rapidly the hydrogen movement is growing around the world and they aim to use other countries’ success to motivate them to become just as, if not more, successful.
“We have seen that in the UK, Germany, China and numerous other parts of Europe, hydrogen trains and buses have been successfully deployed,” said Brock
“When people come in contact with hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cells, whether they are riding a train in Germany or a bus in London, they become more familiar with the technology which grows familiarity and confidence which then makes the investors happy, which makes the Government happy, which makes things go forward.”
Although Canada has arguably been behind the leaders in the movement, they are now on the right track and can put confidence in the country – after past failures – that hydrogen now has the capabilities to improve lives, the environment and businesses.
With big hydrogen catalysts already being identified through H2GO Canada’s hydrogen report and Brock and Oliver’s vast experience in the sector, the pieces are in place for the country to join global leaders.
The momentum of a hydrogen economy is growing, and it is clear that whilst Canada are still catching up with the rest of the world, they are definitely one to watch over the next few years.
“We are very mindful of the progress that has been made across the world, and while we are a little bit jealous and envious of it, it is also highly motivating,” said Brock.
“The fuel cell was developed in Canada, this is Canadian technology that is being deployed globally, and we are so slow to pick it up ourselves!”
“We are highly, highly motivated, and our goal quite frankly is to catch up and take the lead. We are very competitive.”