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Research Partnerships & Innovation

Pan-Canadian Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Planning Gets Underway at RRC

July 24, 2017

Red River College hosted the first of several meetings this July 16 as planning gets underway for a pan-Canadian hydrogen fuel cell bus demonstration and integration trial begin spearheaded by the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC).
“The first technical planning session for CUTRIC’s national fuel cell electric bus trial demonstrated clear transit demand for a collaborative hydrogen demonstration effort that will position Canada at the forefront of advanced propulsion systems deployment worldwide,” said Josipa Petrunic, Executive Director and CEO of CUTRIC. “Red River College never fails to shine as a hub of nationally relevant innovation activity.”

About the Meeting

Ray Hoemsen, Executive Director of Research Partnerships & Innovation at Red River College.

The full-day meeting began with opening remarks by Ray Hoemsen, Executive Director of Research Partnerships & Innovation at Red River College.
“The College has experience working on hydrogen fuels buses, and we are eager to help expand this technology in Manitoba and across Canada,” Hoemsen said. “Working in partnership with CUTRIC and members of the hydrogen fuel cell and user communities is very encouraging.”
The meeting was made possible through the College’s NSERC-funded Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre (VTEC) and the College will have capacity to test a hydrogen bus in weather extremes in its upcoming $10m MotiveLab facility, an all-weather climatic chamber and chassis dynamometer test facility that will be operational in spring, 2018.
The morning session focused on developing a shared understanding of hydrogen production, infrastructure, and existing fuel cell and bus manufacturers.
Morning session speakers included Nicolas Pocard (Ballard Power Systems), Bob Devine (BAE Systems), Rob Del Core (Hydrogenics), Matt Fairlie (Next Hydrogen), Christine Peck Kretz (Air Products), Gina Strati (Canadian Nuclear Laboratories), Bill Mezher (Luxfer), Jeff Grant (Zen Clean Energy Solutions), and Daniel Raudebaugh with Lauren Justice (Center for Transportation and the Environment).
The afternoon sessions were broken into three segments: route selection rationale; political mapping among transit stakeholders; and preliminary budget planning with a timeline overview and planning next steps.
The political mapping was to identify municipal-level political opportunities and/or local support within champion stakeholder communities across Canada, along with identifying political challenges and how they can be overcome.

What’s Next?

A year of technical planning lies ahead for CUTRIC to finalize the specifications for the fuel cell bus and hydrogen fuelling stations combined with federal, provincial and municipal government lobbying to help co-fund the initiative with industry partners.

Josipa Petrunic, Executive Director and CEO of CUTRIC.

“It’s an exciting process that we expect will result in a world-class demonstration effort involving at least three transit agencies and 40 fuel cell electric buses,” said Petrunic. 
“I am excited about the move transit agencies are making towards electrification overall, whether that be via hydrogen fuel cell electric buses or battery electric buses,” Petrunic continued. “The climate is changing in detrimental ways for many people around the planet. Action today might help mitigate the worst of it in the future. Transit agencies that joined us at this event are clearly demonstrating their leadership in trying to address this problem by taking a risk, stepping out in front, and deciding to define themselves boldly as solution-makers.”
Representatives from Winnipeg Transit and other organizations.