Eight fleets opt for hydrogen in northern BC

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by Emily Atkins

Eight commercial truck fleets have signed up to retrofit trucks to use hydrogen fuel in British Columbia.

Hydra Energy signed the companies on to take part in its Prince George, British Columbia project. This means 82 Class 8 trucks to be retrofitted using Hydra’s proprietary hydrogen-diesel, co-combustion conversion technology.

Once converted by Hydra installation partner First Truck Centre, these trucks will refuel at the hydrogen refuelling station Hydra is building in Prince George. The station, which uses green hydrogen produced on site by two five-megawatt electrolysers powered with hydroelectricity, is set to start running in 2024.

Hydra says these fleet commitments and supporting hydrogen infrastructure from Hydra will make this the largest commercial deployment of hydrogen-diesel co-combustion transportation vehicles in the world. The company is calling its offering Hydrogen-as-a-Service (HaaS).

“Upon signing our first commercial fleet customer in Prince George and breaking ground on our local refuelling station last year, we had an initial goal to secure 65 heavy-duty trucks to leverage the new station once operational next year. We’re pleased to surpass this target with the signing of these eight fleets highlighting the continued interest in hydrogen trucking and the benefits it delivers for fleets of all sizes, even with heavy payloads in challenging weather and road conditions like those found in Northern B.C.,” said Hydra Energy CEO, Jessica Verhagen.

“We look forward to working with First Truck Centre to start converting these trucks about six months prior to our station’s opening and to continuing to work with the City of Prince George as the flagship stop in the Western Canadian Hydrogen Corridor we’re building between the B.C. Coast and Edmonton.”

The eight companies that have signed MOUs represent a range of fleet sizes and types of heavy-duty trucks. Arrow Transportation Systems specializes in bulk commodity hauling, reload operations, and freight management serving North America. According to Jacob Adams, Arrow’s manager of optimization and sustainability, the company is “excited about the potential opportunity to collaborate with Hydra on hydrogen-converted trucks.”

Excel Transportation, a Prince George-based transport and logistics service company for the forestry industry also signed an MOU. “Once we heard about the progress Hydra has been making on their hydrogen refuelling station right in our own backyard, the fact their hydrogen wouldn’t cost us more than diesel, and that it would cost nothing to retrofit our trucks to run cleaner and more efficiently, we couldn’t pass on the opportunity,” said CEO Annie Horning.

“Hydra allows us to make a positive difference sooner than later while eliminating our range anxiety concerns that could impact our service reliability.”

Hydra also signed MOUs with Edgewater Holdings, Wilson Bros. Enterprises, Burke Purdon Enterprises, Godsoe Contracting, Keis Trucking, and Peace Valley Industries. They all serve the Prince George and Northern B.C. region. According to Hydra’s service delivery lead, Ilya Radetski, the company is talking with additional local fleets about joining the program.