You can now refuel a hydrogen car in Metro Vancouver

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      British Columbia is a hub for clean energy. Almost 90 percent of the province’s power comes from hydroelectric sources, and wind, solar, run-of-river, geothermal, biomass, tidal, and wave power are all represented across B.C.’s grid.

      As well as those more conventional renewable energy methods, the region boasts a special expertise in developing hydrogen as an alternative fuel.

      Colourless, odorless, and nontoxic, hydrogen is one of the most readily available clean energies. When the gas burns or is used in a fuel cell to make electricity, the only waste product is water vapour. On top of being light to store and transport, it’s also—when extracted from water and hydrocarbons—very abundant.

      Creators have envisaged the element being used to power everything from homes to cars and airplanes, cutting down on dirty emissions from fossil fuels. Today, the city of Vancouver moved one step further towards making that a reality.

      In partnership with Shell, local company Hydrogen Technology and Energy Corporation (HTEC) launched Canada’s first retail refuelling station for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles this morning. Located in Marpole at 8686 Granville Street, the hydrogen pump is one of three sites that Shell and HTEC plan to open in the city.

      “Working with HTEC to bring hydrogen refuelling to Vancouver is one of many exciting ways we are advancing cleaner energy solutions and evolving to meet the changing expectations of customers,” said Michael Crothers, Shell Canada president and country chair. “Canada is well suited to capitalize on the energy transition thanks to the ingenuity of Canadians and our willingness to work together. We’re grateful for the collaboration between industry and government that was instrumental in making this station a reality.”

      Hydrogen vehicles can drive up to 700 kilometers on one tank, and can be refuelled in a few minutes at a standard station with a hydrogen dispenser. HTEC and Shell hope that by creating the infrastructure necessary for hydrogen cars to operate, it will encourage customers to invest in hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.

      “How fitting Canada’s first retail hydrogen station opens in Vancouver, when the country’s first gas station also opened here, 111 years ago,” says Colin Armstrong, president and CEO of HTEC. “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.”

      Six hydrogen stations will eventually be built by HTEC across the province, concentrated in Greater Vancouver and Victoria. The network will enable the deployment of the first 1,000 zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles in B.C.

      Follow Kate Wilson on Twitter @KateWilsonSays