Hydrogen fuel cell 'gas station' for electric vehicles coming to Victoria
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
Published October 23, 2018
A ‘gas station’ for hydrogen-powered electric vehicles is coming to Victoria as part of the first phase of a nationwide hydrogen fuel cell refuelling network, Citified has learned.
North Vancouver-based Hydrogen Technology and Energy Corporation (HTEC) has applied to the District of Saanich to situate one of six consumer-focused hydrogen refuelling pumps in British Columbia at the intersection of Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue.
HTEC’s hydrogen pump, which will be appended to an existing gasoline pump kiosk at the intersection’s Esso gas station, will allow hydrogen-powered vehicles to refuel much like gasoline-powered vehicles do.
In addition to the pump, a 16-foot tall hydrogen storage structure will be constructed adjacent to the Esso station’s 7/11 convenience store.
HTEC opened its first hydrogen refuelling service along the 8600-block of Granville Street in Vancouver earlier this year. Together with four additional Metro Vancouver locations (planned for Vancouver, Burnaby, West Vancouver and Richmond) and its Saanich station, the company’s network will be equipped to power 1,000 zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles in southwest British Columbia by 2020.
Last June Colin Armstrong, HTEC’s President and CEO, referred to Canada’s first hydrogen refuelling station opening in Vancouver as a fitting milestone in light of the country’s first gas station appearing in that city over a century ago.
“Back then, even with only a few cars on the road, demand for gasoline was increasing and it made sense to build a fuelling station to support a growing network of automobiles. The same is true today: infrastructure must be in place to support [fuel cell electric vehicle] rollouts, and HTEC is proud to be working with our partners to build the first wave of hydrogen refuelling stations in Canada, starting here in BC,” Armstrong said.
Additional stations are planned for Quebec in the coming years together with an eventual roll-out in other parts of the country and in the United States.
Hydrogen-powered electric vehicles have gained interest among auto manufacturers as the industry moves away from fossil fuel-based consumer vehicles.
Toyota in particular is bullish on hydrogen technology and considers it to be an environmentally-friendly alternative to battery technology. The company has invested in hydrogen since the 1990’s and its first hydrogen-powered vehicle was released in 2014 as the Mirai, of which 30,000 are slated for production by 2020.
However, opponents of hydrogen fuel cells cite high refuelling costs and limited refuelling capacity per ‘fuel pump’ as present-day challenges presented by the technology. C
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