British Columbia Providing C$45M More for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses; Contributing to the BC Hydrogen Highway
|The BC Hydrogen Highway.|
British Columbia is providing C$45 million (US$40.6 million) more toward the production of 20 hydrogen fuel cell buses and accompanying fueling stations in Whistler and Victoria. Premier Gordon Campbell made the announcement at the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells 2007 international conference and trade show in Vancouver.
The Premier had earlier called for a federal-provincial partnership to invest C$89 million (US$80 million) for the hydrogen buses and fueling infrastructure as part of a larger strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Other elements of the strategy include greenhouse gas emission standards for all new vehicles sold in BC and a low-carbon fuel standard. (Earlier post.)
In November 2006, the Province dedicated an initial C$10 million of the hydrogen project funding to the first phase of the project with a Request for Proposals that called for the development of a pre-production hydrogen fuel cell bus.
BC Transit is now in contract negotiations with the top proponent for this initial bus and the subsequent production phase. This second C$45-million allocation, which comes from the federal Public Transit Capital Trust, will go toward production of the 20 hydrogen buses and to develop hydrogen fuelling stations in Whistler and Victoria.
BC Transit issued a Request for Proposal last week calling for the development of the fuelling stations. The remaining $34 million of the overall funding will be used by BC Transit to operate the fleet for up to five years, bringing the total commitment to the fleet to C$89 million.
Our goal is to see the world’s first fleet of fuel cell buses on BC roads by the end of 2009 to showcase BC’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the potential of hydrogen technology as an energy solution. This funding will ensure that the hydrogen highway that will run from Whistler to Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria will become a reality. We will continue our work with our partners in the US to extend the Hydrogen Highway from Whistler to San Diego by 2010.—Premier Campbell
The ultimate goal of the hydrogen bus project is to demonstrate for the first time the integration of hydrogen fuel cell buses into the regular operational service of an urban transit system, allowing monitoring of operations, maintenance and fuelling over a sustained period.
British Columbia joined with five western US states to partner in the new Western Regional Climate Action Initiative (WRCAI) earlier this month. The purpose of the WRCAI is to identify, evaluate and implement ways to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region and to achieve related co-benefits.
Premier Campbell also announced $155,000 in government funding to support the development of a new undergraduate fuel cell systems design laboratory at the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems at the University of Victoria. The new facility, a first-of-its kind lab in the province, will help prepare future graduate engineers for employment with BC hydrogen and fuel cell companies. In addition, British Columbia’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Strategy will receive $50,000 for continued outreach and communications about hydrogen and fuel cell technology in action in BC.