Green Party Leader May bullish on Sidney manufacturing company

Empire Hydrogen grows production of its fuel enhancement units.

MP Elizabeth May cuts the ribbon as Sidney company Empire Hydrogen Energy Systems and owner Sven Tjelta announced the expansion of a second production line for their innovative fuel enhancement system.

When Elizabeth May heard about a company in her own backyard that had a product to make fuel burn more efficiently, she had to have a look.

On Wednesday, the Saanich-Gulf Islands MP and federal Green Party Leader cut the ribbon (it was green) on the expanded production capability of Empire Hydrogen Energy Systems. They manufacture and sell a unit that can inject hydrogen and oxygen into diesel fuel engines, making them burn more efficiently — thereby using less fuel.

May said she was impressed with the product’s ability to facilitate the burning of less fuel and therefore reducing carbon emissions.

Owner Sven Tjelta said the company — profiled in a PNR story last month —  needs the MP’s help to promote their product to companies — especially bus lines — and help get the attention of markets via government ministers.

Company Vice-President Andrew Evans said Empire Hydrogen has been working on their product for six years and began marketing it last year. This month, he said, they were scheduled to ship out 25 units to a trucking company.

At approximately $10,000 a unit, that represents a good start for the Sidney company.

Evans said the fuel enhancement units have the potential to save trucking companies money spent on fuel and maintenance. They work by using distilled water and electricity to separate out the oxygen and hydrogen — which are injected into engines. It makes the fuel burn hotter, he explained, and pistons move faster, making the engines more efficient.

The result is engines that use 20 per cent less fuel, Evan continued, while emitting fewer pollutants.

“Business is booming,” added Tjelta.

As a result, Tjelta added they’ve been able to find new investors and raise approximately $3 million in private funding so far. He said they’ve made a second share offering recently, which is close to ending.

Tjelta said they hope their MP can help guide them to the right people — those interested in their technology.