Empire Hydrogen Energy Systems is riding just a little higher after recently winning a Green Business award from a Vancouver Island business publication.
The extra publicity the award is expected to generate will give the Sidney company another boost as it looks to expand production of the fuel enhancement units it manufactures here.
Empire, says company Chairman Sven Tjelta, is currently looking for people interested in investing in their technology. His presentation to participants in the eighth annual Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Tour of Industry on Jan. 27, was centred around those efforts.
“The technology is working,” he said, noting Empire is looking at possibly entering the marketplace via Norway and its stock market there.
Tjelta said Empire recently opened a shop in Norway, making it the local company’s main location for possible inroads into the European market.
Empire Hydrogen Energy Systems Inc. develops and builds diesel fuel enhancement systems. Able to be mounted as after-market units on large transport trucks, Tjelta said they can give operators anywhere from 10 to 25 per cent savings in their annual fuel costs.
Simply put, the units use distilled water, running it through battery-type cells, powered by electricity, to generate hydrogen gas — which is mixed with diesel fuel, enabling it to burn hotter and more efficiently, creating more horsepower.
The technology is already being used on a variety of area trucks, generators in colder climes and even on boats. It’s estimated the units can save long haul truckers $15,000 to $20,000 a year on their fuel bills.
To date, Tjelta said the company has used government research grants to develop their technology. Now, he said they are hoping to raise around $4.9 million in common shares in the company. The investment, he continued, will enable further development, research and manufacturing of the units.
Some of that research will be into enabling the technology to operate effectively in colder temperatures. The company is testing the technology with large, diesel power generators in more northern parts of the country.
Their main market, however, is still with transport trucks and they have been testing them with local trucking companies. Wilson Transportation, too, is getting in on the deal, testing the units on one of their buses, Tjelta said.
The chairman is confident in the product. He said he put in $1 million of his own money into the company, making sure the technology works before inviting anyone else to invest.
More details about Empire can be found at empirehydrogen.com.
• • • •
On Wednesday: The Tour visits Arbutus Grove Nursery in North Saanich.