SIMON Fraser University and India’s flagship national oil company, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Ltd, have laid the groundwork to collaborate on hydrogen and fuel cell technology research.

SFU President Andrew Petter, who is currently in India, on Friday signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) with IOC’s Director of Research and Development, Dr. R.K. Malhotra. B.C. government representatives also attended the signing in New Delhi.

“SFU researchers have much to contribute and gain through this relationship,” said Petter. “SFU is internationally recognized for its expertise in fuel cell technology. Collaborating on research with IOC will provide greater opportunities for our faculty members and students to advance the field globally.”

Dr. Malhotra said: “Indian Oil recognizes and values the global lead role which British Columbia is taking in the fuel cell developments and its commercialization. The collaboration with Simon Fraser University would help Indian Oil to get the benefit of their expertise in hydrogen and fuel cell research. The intended collaborative research will help further the development and optimization of fuel cell technology and cut down the cost.”

SFU Dean of Applied Sciences Nimal Rajapakse said: “This partnership will give SFU students and researchers an opportunity to work with India’s leading fuel company and conduct research in a truly global setting.”

The relationship developed as a result of Dr. Malhotra’s visit to B.C. last June as a keynote speaker at the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association conference. During his visit he expressed interest in developing research collaborations with B.C. focusing on hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

“We are deepening relationships in key sectors such as clean technology to increase trade and investment between British Columbia and India,” said Teresa Wat, B.C.’s Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for the Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism. “Connecting world-leading institutions such as SFU with a company such as Indian Oil will boost research and commercialization, attract new investment, and create and protect jobs for British Columbians.”

The collaboration will facilitate the sharing of expertise in hydrogen and fuel cell research and enable exchanges for SFU faculty and students to work in IOC’s world-class R&D facility, while providing IOC researchers access to SFU facilities.

It could also lead to the creation of a joint research centre in hydrogen and fuel cell technology at IOC’s Faridabad site.

The signing took place during a weeklong mission to India by Petter, SFU Vice President of Research Mario Pinto and Vice President of External Relations Philip Steenkamp to advance existing relationships and to forge new partnerships with academia, industry and government.

The university also announced it has entered into an MOU with one of India’s premier institutions of science and engineering, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), which will foster research collaborations on clean energy projects as well as graduate student exchanges.