University of British Columbia breaks ground on hydrogen fuel station and solar farmMay 11, 2021
Construction on the $23 million-dollar, city block-sized green energy hub has started.
The University of British Columbia in Canada has started construction on a massive $23 million-dollar hydrogen fuel station and solar farm.
The construction will involve hundreds of solar panels that will double as shade structures.
The hydrogen fuel station and solar farm is being built at the University of British Columbia (UBC)’s Point Grey campus, next to its Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. It involves building hundreds of solar panels on the top of the Thunderbird Parkade, which will simultaneously work as shade structures over the upper-level vehicle parking stalls as they collect solar energy.
The construction will result in a 1 MW power generation system. It will provide the block’s green energy infrastructure electricity. This will include the power needed for high voltage battery-electric vehicle charging, as well as an H2 production and refuelling station, and power storage in batteries. The solar farm is expected to begin operation in October 2022.
The hydrogen fuel station and solar farm are a demonstration smart energy from unused spaces.
The reversible electric vehicle charging makes it possible for an energy exchange between the grid and electric vehicles. The project underscores how cars and buildings can become “active participants in smart energy storage,” even when unused for the majority of the time.
The parkade already has ground-level charging stations installed. They are expected to be operational by this summer.
The H2 refuelling station will be built on the basketball court’s footprint, which is located next to the parkade and a skatepark.
The solar panels will provide the necessary electricity to operate a water electrolyzer, which will produce a green hydrogen supply for the refuelling station, which will serve both light- and heavy-duty fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). The refuelling station is expected to become operational in March 2022.
The green energy hub’s research findings from the solar farm and hydrogen fuel station will be used for advancing future smart interconnectivity solutions between civil infrastructure, transportation, and telecommunications.
“This is an exciting moment for UBC,” read a statement released by UBC president and vice-chancellor, Santa Ono.