CUTRIC Funding Advances Low-Carbon Fleet Technology

Waterloo (February 28, 2019) – The Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) has announced important funding for an innovative collaboration between industry, university and government to develop new ground-breaking hydrogen fuel cell technology.

“This funding will integrate and develop zero-emission Hydrogen Fuel Cell technologies, advancing low and zero carbon solutions for urban mobility, one of CUTRIC’s key pillars,” says Josipa Petrunic, CUTRIC’s Executive Director and CEO.

This Development of Low-Cost, High Performing and Durable Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cells Project is starting Phase I and has a total value of $1,898,432.00 CAD (with all costs incorporated) with CUTRIC funding 25% of the cost.

This CUTRIC-led project has been made possible through a partnership between the University of Waterloo with Professor Xianguo Li as Principal Investigator; the University of Western Ontario; Ballard Power Systems Inc.; and, StarPower ON Systems Inc. and co-funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

“NSERC’s Research Partnerships support collaborations that allow new scientific evidence to be applied to a broad range of new applications,” states Marc Fortin, Vice-President, Research Partnerships, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. “This research will play a key role in Canada’s commitment to tackling climate change and will allow Ballard Power Systems to maintain a leadership position in an increasingly competitive and important area of clean energy technology.”

“We at Ballard Power Systems are excited to be part of this Canadian funded project working with world class fuel cell researchers, Dr. Li, Dr. Sun, and their teams at the University of Waterloo and Western University,” said Alan Young, Principal Research Engineer at Ballard.  “This project focuses on key areas required by the fuel cell industry, and the new class of catalyst materials to be developed has significant promise to provide the technology needed to propel us forward to the next generation of fuel cell products.”   

Over the next four years, this project will develop world-class research in next generation fuel cell technologies for transit and automobile applications. With vehicle emissions having the highest environmental impact and health hazard in cities, this study focuses on zero-emission fuel cell technology for urban transit vehicles that can be used in: hydrogen fuel-cell power/propulsion systems; battery electric power/propulsion systems with fuel cell as ranger extenders; and, electric power/propulsion systems with battery-fuel cell electric hybrids. The research focuses on PEM (Polymer Electrolyte Membrane) fuel cell technology and the technical challenges involving cost and durability under variable load operations.

 “We are very pleased to collaborate with CUTRIC along with partners in academia, government, and industry on this project which will allow us to develop next generation fuel cell technology to maintain Canada’s leadership in the clean energy technology arena. In addition, it will support training for 14 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, and summer interns with skills that are in high demand,” says Xianguo Li, professor, mechanical engineering, University of Waterloo.

 “The key outcome associated with the project is expected to be the development of low-cost, high performing, and durable fuel cells with a high power density capability,” says Petrunic. “This technology will form the basis for future generation cost-effective and durable PEM fuel cell technology that can be deployed for both automobile and transit applications.”

 “The adoption of fuel cell-powered transportation for vehicles, buses and trains in Ontario and across Canada, will contribute to meeting national and global climate change targets,” says Petrunic.

“In addition, this project will contribute to skilled job creation in the field of hydrogen mobility innovation and put Canada on the global map of hydrogen fuel cell technology,” closes Petrunic.  “The Governments of Ontario and Canada are working together with the project partners demonstrating leadership in technology innovation and ensuring a skilled workforce is ready for future opportunities.”