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UOIT hosts business, government and academia leaders for discussion about the role of hydrogen in a cleaner, more prosperous future
Business, government and academia leaders from across the Province are gathered at the Critical Energy Choices Conference 2007 in Toronto today to discuss the future of Ontario's economic and energy requirements and to debate the need to find a significant role in that mix for hydrogen, the 'perfect fuel.'
The conference arrives at a critical time as the Province continues to
look for the best options for new generation sources and an environmentally
friendly mix that will meet Ontario's growing energy needs in the foreseeable
future. Large-scale production of hydrogen is critical to the successful
transformation from a fossil fuel-based economy to a cleaner and more
sustainable energy future.
"The hydrogen economy is not coming; it's already here in many
industries," said Dr. Kamiel Gabriel, UOIT's associate provost, Research, and
one of seven keynote speakers at today's conference. "Nearly seven billion
tonnes of carbon-based fossil fuels are burned yearly, releasing greenhouse
gases that lead to all kinds of health-related problems, not to mention global
warming. We need to find a practical solution to reducing carbon dioxide
emissions. For some of us, the answer is in getting away from a fossil-fuel
based economy to a hydrogen-based economy. Hydrogen, like electricity, is a
'currency' that is exchanged between systems. Unlike electricity, it can be
stored during times of non-peak demand for usage at a later time. This will
clearly ensure a sustainable lifestyle and clean environment for future
Among the key people sharing their expertise today are Jane Allen,
partner, national leader, Power and Utilities, Deloitte Inc.; professors Dr.
Peter Berg, and Dr. Greg Naterer from UOIT; Dr. Angus Bruneau, founder, Fortis
Inc. and a member of the Federal round table on sustainable energy; Sean
Conway, special advisor to the principal on External Relations, and founder of
the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University; Matthew Fairlie,
principal, Fairfield Group Inc.; Dr. Sermet Kuran, director, Advanced
Technology Development, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL); Jaimie Levin,
director of Alternative Fuels Policy and Marketing, AC Transit; and Dr. Brant
Peppley, director of the Queen's-RMC Fuel Cell Research Centre.
Topics of discussion include Canadian Energy Landscape; Technology
Challenge: Critical Choices; Nuclear Renaissance: Producing Today's Energy -
and Tomorrow's Hydrogen; Sustainable Transport in California - A Model for
North America?; The Economic Imperative: From the Hydrocarbon Economy to the
Hydrogen Economy; Mobilizing Minds: Fueling Ontario's Energy Future - Act Now;
and Hydrogen Infrastructure: Production, Distribution and Usage in a
"Hosting this conference is extremely important to UOIT as the
opportunity to bring these experts together is an important step in furthering
the need for meaningful discussion on a topic that holds great global
importance," said Dr. Ronald Bordessa, UOIT's president. "It provides us with
a unique opportunity to stand united on important issues such as our future
energy supply, provide valuable insight into the critical state of our
environment and encourage our government to realize the possibilities hydrogen
can deliver both environmentally and economically for our future."
UOIT has developed a national reputation for hydrogen research, including
receiving $3 million in the 2007 provincial budget to advance its work in this
field. Working towards finding a lower-cost sustainable solution for the
large-scale production of hydrogen is essential in eliminating greenhouse gas
emissions, minimizing the effect of global warming and delivering an overall
Playing a lead role in UOIT's hydrogen research work is Dr. Naterer, who
was recently awarded a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Advanced Energy
Systems. The chair will work to develop new ways of improving energy
generation and utilization, such as in the recovery of waste heat for hydrogen
production and new energy sources powered by nanotechnology.
"Hydrogen will greatly benefit Ontario's energy security and the
environment because it can be produced and used in ways that have minimal
impact on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions," said Dr. Naterer.
"Hydrogen will also benefit economic growth in Ontario through job growth,
investment opportunities and a sustainable, secure energy supply. Over 50
million tons per year of hydrogen are needed worldwide by industries such as
petrochemical (oil sands in Alberta), agricultural (fertilizers), automotive
and many others. We are also examining applications of hydrogen to stationary
power generation and a hydrogen train. Sustainable hydrogen production in
Ontario would bring major economic opportunities in a $282-billion world
market for hydrogen, which is expected to grow by 20 per cent a year by 2010
and 40 per cent a year by 2020."
Dr. Naterer is discussing Delivering on the Hydrogen Promise: Ontario and
the Canadian Advantage at today's conference, which is at the MaRS
Collaboration Centre, 101 College Street.
As an innovative university, UOIT delivers a leading-edge learning
environment that uniquely combines academic knowledge, research opportunities,
hands-on skills and a vibrant student life. UOIT's 5,000 students are taught
by professors who are experts in their fields from around the world. As
Ontario's first laptop-based university, the university offers more than 30
challenging undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of
Business and Information Technology, Criminology, Justice and Policy Studies,
Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, and Sciences. UOIT's commitment to
research excellence has resulted in millions of dollars in grants and awards,
including five Canada Research Chairs. To find out more, visit http://www.uoit.ca or
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