A new $23 million renewable energy hub will transform an entire city block at the University of British Columbia (UBC) into a smart energy district, including the province’s first-ever hydrogen refuelling station for light and heavy-duty vehicles.
It will also include the addition of a solar array, as well as intelligent charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
“This is an exciting moment for UBC,” said Prof. Santa J. Ono, UBC president and vice- chancellor. “In the face of a growing climate crisis, we are mobilizing even more of our institutional education, research and innovation capacity to pursue climate solutions. This renewable energy hub is an important piece, and we are truly grateful to our partners in government and industry who helped bring it to life.”
The Renewable Energy Hub will be built at the corner of Wesbrook Mall and Thunderbird Boulevard. The project is supported by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, which announced $5.6 million in low-carbon fuel standard credits for the project.
The energy hub will become a city-scale, “living laboratory” that explores critical links between energy, transportation and urban design, said project lead Dr. Walter Mérida, a professor of mechanical engineering who leads MéridaLabs in the faculty of applied science.
A key feature is a water electrolyzer that uses electricity from the solar panels to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, resulting in “green hydrogen” — or 100 per cent renewable hydrogen. The process does not emit carbon emissions. The hydrogen is then sent to a hydrogen vehicle refuelling station.
“In order to realize our CleanBC climate goals, we must invest in innovative energy solutions, like UBC’s renewable energy hub,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “B.C. is well positioned to become a world leader in clean energy, and this project demonstrates the excellent potential right here in the Lower Mainland.”