TRU Electric Vehicle Charging System Project 2020-2023

The following proposed project is in the development stage.  Thompson Rivers University-Kamloops (TRU) and its project partners will install, operate, and assess the operating parameters of a High Temperature PEM Fuel Cell (HTPEM) electric mobility charging portal on the university campus for three (3) years operating on affordable and abundant BC natural gas. The stand-alone infrastructure fabricated by TRU will be designed to accommodate class 2 electric vehicle charging, electric scooter charging, and other electric mobility charging requirement’s by students and the community.

The primary objective is to compare on-campus electric vehicle charging from the electric grid to electric vehicle charging from hydrogen energy extracted from affordable and abundant BC natural gas (click) (click) as a strategy to facilitate the transition to the electric mobility;  as natural gas is typical still available even during electric grid outages caused by extreme weather, fires, and/or slides.  Furthermore, the solution minimizes infrastructure stress placed upon the central electrical grid due to a transition to electric mobility, would create new natural gas applications resulting in increased natural gas revenues, and reduces global warming greenhouse gas emissions.

The “hybrid” electric power generating infrastructure incorporates a 10kW HTPEM fuel cell and a high power density LIPO (Lithium Polymer) 8kWh energy storage module providing 12VDC, 24VDC, 120VAC and 208VAC. The series/parallel power infrastructure can surge to 30kW, is designed to accommodate solar and wind renewable energy modules for flexibility and scalability, can accommodate additional energy storage modules, and is 92% thermally efficient as a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) module due to an operating temperature of 160-180C and leveraging a high heat capacity mineral oil thermal medium.

Fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen from the air to produce electricity without combustion. Water and heat are the only by-products of this reaction. Fuel cells are a highly efficient, combustion-less, virtually pollution free source of electricity that can power buildings, automobiles and a host of consumer applications. A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that produces electricity and in principle, a fuel cell operates like a battery. However, unlike a battery, a fuel cell does not run down or require recharging. A fuel cell uses fuel — usually natural gas to extract the hydrogen and air to extract the oxygen — to produce electricity. It will continue to produce energy in the form of electricity and heat as long as there is a constant source of fuel with water and heat as the only by-product and a 90% reduction in emissions.