WINDSOR – Canada’s federal government announces the commitment of nearly C$34 million ($34.3 million) to fund six research projects aimed at developing fuel-saving technologies for auto makers.

Projects will be centered at various Canadian universities, with C$19 million ($19.2 million) of the total outlay coming from Automotive Partnership Canada, a government-industry alliance, and nearly C$15 million ($15.1 million) directly from industry, says Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology.

“This type of an announcement not only creates local jobs, but it puts Canada in a very competitive position to sell our cars and our technology to the rest of the world, creating even more jobs,” Goodyear tells journalists at the University of Windsor here, home to a project that will explore electrohydraulic metal-forming.

Other projects will examine:

  • Titanium-based powder production for low-cost titanium-parts manufacturing (Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS).
  • Low-cost lithium-ion batteries (Dalhousie).
  • Fabrication of magnesium-intensive multi-material parts and structures (University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON).
  • Low-cost platinum fuel cells (Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC).
  • Meso-, molecular- and nano-scale function of Li-ion batteries (McMaster University, Hamilton, ON).

Goodyear says commitment to commercialization is vital to technology development because “we have lots of discoveries in our universities, lots of good ideas in our research that don’t make it to the marketplace. That (criticism) came out in an R&D report last year.”

But Goodyear is mum on the prospects for continued funding of Auto21, a government-sponsored organization that brokers partnerships between university-level researchers and industry stakeholders with an eye toward technology commercialization.

“We’re making some changes,” he says, suggesting some accommodation could be made in the next federal budget.

Ottawa’s commitment to fund the organization expires in 2015. Auto21 has spawned more than 120 patents, licenses, non-disclosure agreements and commercialization deals.

emayne@wardsauto.com