City of Edmonton pauses planned hydrogen fuelling station for buses, vehicles – Edmonton |


Edmonton is pausing plans to build a hydrogen fuelling station in the south end of the city, saying the demand isn’t there right now.

In the fall 2023 municipal budget adjustment, there was a funding request for 40 new hydrogen fuel-cell buses. But, due to financial constraints, city council instead purchased 20 diesel buses.

That eliminated the demand for a hydrogen fuelling station announced in April 2023.

At that that time, the city had sent out a request for proposals on building the hydrogen fuelling station, in collaboration with the Alberta Motor Transport Association and Edmonton Region Hydrogen HUB partner Transition Accelerator.

The station was going to be at the Centennial Garage near Anthony Henday Drive and Rabbit Hill Road.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton, Strathcona County launch pilot program for hydrogen-electric transit buses'

Edmonton, Strathcona County launch pilot program for hydrogen-electric transit buses

It was intended to supply fuel for the city’s now-cancelled hydrogen transit buses and the private transportation sector as it transitions to heavy-duty hydrogen vehicles.

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“I don’t think it’s dead forever, I think it’s just getting a reset,” said Ward pihêsiwin Coun. Tim Cartmell.

“This is a very new industry and a very new offering — the idea of commercially available hydrogen — so it’s very early days.”

He added hydrogen isn’t going anywhere.

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“This is something that is going to be a part of our resource future going forward. We’ll figure it out — it’s just a bit of a reset, I think that’s all it is.”

Arjan Sharma, branch manager of fleet and facility services for the City of Edmonton, also said the project is paused due to the short-term change in demand.

“Given the evolving nature of these emerging technologies, we have taken an incremental approach to the adoption of hydrogen propulsion technologies into the city’s fleet,” Sharma said.

“As we continue to validate and refine the overall effectiveness of these technologies, projected demands fluctuate and guaranteeing a minimum demand is difficult within the current environment.”

Click to play video: 'Province of Alberta adds hydrogen vehicle to fleet'

Province of Alberta adds hydrogen vehicle to fleet

The city said it intends to return to market when there is greater clarity and consistent demand for high volumes of hydrogen. It said the construction of a permanent fuelling station will need to be well-timed to provide maximum value for industry and the city.

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Sharma went on to say Edmonton is still committed to sustainability and achieving its climate goals, including transitioning the ETS fleet to zero-emission buses.

The province has been recently been touting hydrogen as Alberta’s solution to low-emission vehicles, and wants to be a global supplier.

On her radio show Your Premier Your Province last summer, Premier Danielle Smith said hydrogen vehicles feel the same as driving regular petrochemical-fueled ones.

“The issue that we have as government is that we’ve got to facilitate the building out of the hydrogen infrastructure — probably have to attract Toyota and Honda and Hyundai to come to our province to build a car manufacturing plants, but that’s going to be the pathway that we go,” she said in her July 22 show.

Click to play video: 'New investment reinforces Edmonton’s burgeoning reputation as  a hydrogen hub'

New investment reinforces Edmonton’s burgeoning reputation as a hydrogen hub

In 2022, the Alberta government announced it was awarding $161 million to a U.S.-based industrial gas company Air Products, which is behind a hydrogen facility northeast of Edmonton.

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Then in 2023, the federal government delivered nearly $10 million to support Alberta’s growing hydrogen industry. The federal money was expected to support 1,600 jobs by improving access to hydrogen fuels, supporting product testing, attracting investment and providing more training for Alberta workers.

Both the City of Edmonton and Strathcona County launched a pilot program for hydrogen-electric transit buses in 2022 through the Alberta Zero Emission Hydrogen Transit project, that saw each municipality test out one of the buses in our colder climate.

The city’s bus remains in service, with the hydrogen being provided by Suncor at a dedicated fuelling site.

Edmonton says initial results from that pilot project are promising.

Click to play video: 'Alberta power plant could one day energize the province with hydrogen'

Alberta power plant could one day energize the province with hydrogen

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