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UBC announces new hydrogen energy hub for fuel-cell vehicle charging

On Wednesday, University of British Columbia (UBC) president Santa Ono, and BC Energy Minister Bruce Ralston, announced the demonstration project of a new energy hub to power vehicles with hydrogen. In fact, through this project, both parties aim to convert a parking garage at the University of BC into this next-gen hub.

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UBC on developing hydrogen energy hub for fuel-cell vehicle charging

University of British Columbia (UBC) president Santa Ono and BC Energy Minister Bruce Ralston announced Wednesday they aim to convert a parking garage on the university into a hydrogen energy hub. Particularly, a demonstration project will show this hub will be able to power vehicles with hydrogen.

Indeed, the hydrogen generating and refueling station will be part of the UBC Clean Energy Research Centre. Accordingly, the Hydrogen Fueling Station site is located on the area occupied by a basketball court and next to a parade and skatepark (which requires relocation).

Electricity generated by solar arrays (also under installation at the campus) will provide the energy for a water electrolyzer that produces a 100% renewable hydrogen supply for the refueling station. In fact, for both light- and heavy-duty fuel cell vehicles. This refueling station is expected to open in March 2022.

In this sense, this municipal-federal joint project aims to demonstrate the viability of hydrogen fuel for vehicles. Therefore, the plan is to cover a parkade roof with solar panels. Besides, the project will use intermittent energy to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, collecting the hydrogen to power fuel cell vehicles.

Notably, Mr. Ralston said that the province would soon have a hydrogen strategy ready to deploy to a media source. Besides, BC Energy Minister said this strategy would include research into generating hydrogen.

Outlook

Notably, this hydrogen will be used to inject into the existing natural gas distribution network at UBC for use as fuel. Therefore, green hydrogen generated with BC’s hydroelectricity is part of the strategy.

“Hydrogen and clean electricity provide a clear path to sustainable, low-carbon economies for Canada and the world;” said Walter Merida, the UBC mechanical engineering professor in charge of its development.

In fact, hydrogen vehicles are already in production today. However, filling station infrastructure limits their use. Thus, the project will take advantage of UBC’s operation. Notably, because it is a small, self-contained city; excellent to use hydrogen for both light and heavy vehicles with emission-free performance.

Finally, BC is contributing carbon credits from its low-carbon fuel standard program. Accordingly, Mr. Ralston said those credits are worth $5.6 million, among 22 projects to be funded by the province. The UBC renewable energy hub is also receiving funding by Natural Resources Canada and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

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