Alberta to open its first hydrogen fueling station

by Derek Cloutier

Alberta’s first commercial hydrogen fuelling station is slated to open along Hwy 2 between Calgary and Edmonton as part of an effort to expand the network across Western Canada.

Photo courtesy of Nikola Motor Canada.

Announced in late March, the initiative marks a significant milestone in the 5,000 Hydrogen Vehicle Challenge, which aims to get 5,000 hydrogen-powered or dual-fuel-hydrogen vehicles on the roads in Western Canada by 2028.

The HYLA fueling station, representing Nikola Corporation’s energy brand, will be situated along Hwy 2 in Leduc County, a transportation corridor linking Alberta’s two largest urban centres — the Edmonton region and Calgary. This station will play a key role in decarbonizing one of Western Canada’s busiest highways, with approximately 96,000 vehicles passing by Blackjacks Roadhouse daily.

It will help meet the fuelling needs of the Nikola hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles destined for the Canadian market and ensure a seamless and reliable refuelling experience for hydrogen-powered vehicles in the Edmonton region.

The project is supported by PrairiesCan and made possible by joint collaboration from key stakeholders including the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA), Nikola Motor Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Nikola Corporation, Suncor, Leduc County, Emissions Reduction Alberta and Blackjacks Roadhouse, where the station will be located.

“The Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) congratulates Blackjacks on this accomplishment. AMTA is constantly working to support the advancement of Alberta’s zero-emission economy,” says Doug Paisley, board chair, AMTA.

“The commercial transportation industry is integral to Alberta’s prosperity, and widespread investments into a cleaner future will continue our province’s economic development. Recent successful projects with partners PrairiesCan, Nikola, and Bison Transport have proven that zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV) are more than viable for operations in Alberta, and we are looking forward to the future.”

Clarence Shields, owner and operator of Blackjacks Roadhouse, is making substantial investments in the project, underscoring his belief that hydrogen is Alberta’s future, and demonstrating the impact private industry can have on accelerating the hydrogen economy.

The HYLA modular fueller uses a 700-bar pressure-fill system—allowing hydrogen fuel supplied by Suncor to be compressed into smaller volumes, and dispensed into onboard storage for long-range vehicles like trucks, buses, and cars. And as demand for hydrogen grows, the goal is to replace the modular fueller with a permanent facility and relocate it to expand the HYLA fueling network across Alberta.