UBC design roadmap for hydrogen supply network across British Columbia

Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have developed a hydrogen supply roadmap for British Columbia (BC), providing analysis on the adoption of zero-emission, hydrogen-powered vehicles.

The study analyses the infrastructure needed to support hydrogen vehicles across BC. In the roadmap, UBC researchers recommend a refuelling infrastructure extending from Prince George in the north to Kamloops and Vancouver in the south and Victoria in the west.

“Hydrogen-powered vehicles are a strong alternative to battery electric vehicles, which don’t always comply with fast-refuelling, long-distance travel or cold weather requirements,” said lead author, Hoda Talebain, a PhD candidate in the Mechanical Engineering Department at UBC.

“We believe we have created the most comprehensive model for hydrogen adoption in a region like BC, where demand is still low for these types of vehicles.”

The researchers, all affiliated with UBC’s Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC), also analysed the possible future demand for light-duty hydrogen vehicles, taking into account the potential effect of policy tools such as carbon tax and the low carbon fuel standard.

“Provided BC maintains those policies, and assuming enough hydrogen vehicles are available, our model sees hydrogen demand growing significantly every year,” said Omar Herrera, Co-Author and CERC Programme Manager.

Canada is already seeing some shift towards hydrogen fuel, hydrogen cars like the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo are already available in BC and by 2020 Greater Vancouver and Victoria are projected to have a network of six hydrogen stations.

“The momentum for hydrogen vehicles is growing, and BC is leading development in Canada by providing supports like car sales rebates and incentive for building fuelling stations,” said Walter Mérida, Senior Study Author and Engineering Professor at UBC.

“However, we need a solid refuelling network to truly promote mass adoption. We hope that our framework contributes to its development and to the CleanBC plan, which includes a zero-emission vehicle mandate by 2040.”

“We do see a future where hydrogen can be economically competitive with gasoline, while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

“This study is part of a broad, multidisciplinary effort on the future of transportation As the energy system becomes smart and decarbonised, hydrogen will become a critical bridge between renewable energy and transportation.”

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