BC forging new hydrogen and fuel links to India

Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL), one of the world’s largest companies, signed an agreement today to collaborate on hydrogen and fuel cell technology research. The Ministry of International Trade, which made the initial connection that led to the new agreement, is promoting British Columbia’s world-leading clean technology sector in this priority market.

Indian Oil Corporation Limited is India’s flagship national oil company and the country’s largest corporation, ranking 88th on the Forbes Global 500 list in 2013. The company is preparing to launch a new $300 million research and development centre in Faridabad, in part to foster a hydrogen fuel economy in the rapidly growing country.

British Columbia has expanded its trade and investment network in India to connect B.C. organizations and companies with new opportunities, and clean technology is a priority sector in Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan. In 2013, ministry staff introduced Indian Oil’s Director of Research and Development, Dr. R.K. Malhotra, to key B.C. organizations, including SFU.

In December, the ministry, with financial support from the Canadian Hydrogen Fuel Cell Association, organized a delegation to India to participate in the second annual Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Conference. Representatives from SFU, Ballard Power Systems, Greenlight Innovations, XRG Energy Tech and Quadrogen participated in the mission, meeting with Indian government departments, industry groups, research institutions, and automotive, energy and telecom companies.

A number of trade deals, innovation agreements and partnership proposals are proceeding as a result of British Columbia’s strategic outreach program in India, building a foundation for additional investment into B.C. by India’s clean tech and energy sectors. Ballard Power Systems, for example, announced in December that its fuel cell systems are being deployed in Idea Cellular’s wireless telecommunications network, India’s third largest with 100 million subscribers.

The collaboration agreement announced today, signed by SFU president Andrew Petter and Dr. Malhotra in New Delhi with British Columbia’s India Trade and Investment Representative, Chaitanya Patil, in attendance, will see research exchanges between the two organizations and a potential joint centre for hydrogen and fuel cell research at Indian Oil’s R&D site in Faridabad.