MiWay Participates in Unique Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Electric Bus Pilot

By December 3, 2020Resources

December 3, 2020

In 2021, MiWay will participate in a hydrogen fuel-cell electric bus pilot project. MiWay is partnering with the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) on the pilot project – the only one of its kind in Canada. Fuel-cell buses use hydrogen fuel cells as their power source, providing a clean, consistent and environmentally friendly source of electricity. During the pilot, MiWay will understand how hydrogen-electric technology can help advance the City of Mississauga’s commitment to a zero-emission bus fleet in support of the Climate Change Action Plan.

“A major priority for Mississauga is fulfilling the actions outlined in our Climate Change Action Plan. Participating in this pilot project will advance our understanding of sustainable transportation, helping us make sound decisions for our fleet in the future,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “At the City, we’re committed to looking for innovative and low-emissions solutions to reach our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Mississauga by 40 per cent by 2030.”

Hydrogen fuel-cell electric bus technology is unique and does not produce any harmful tailpipe emissions. Electrical energy is generated on the bus through an electro-chemical reaction with a fuel cell and hydrogen fuel. The electrical energy is stored in battery packs on the bus, which is used to power the motor and electrically-driven accessories. The only by-product of this process is water vapor, making hydrogen fuel-cell electric bus technology zero-emission.

“While many transit agencies in Canada are conducting small scale battery-electric bus trials, none of them currently involve hydrogen fuel-cell electric bus technology. This would make Mississauga the only city in Canada to undergo a pilot like this,” said Geoff Wright, Commissioner, Transportation and Works. “Hydrogen fuel-cell electric bus technology offers the same benefits as the battery-electric bus technology; however, they are lighter and quieter, have more fuel capacity and can also deliver the critical operational benefits a transit system needs to serve customers in a practical way, particularly on longer distance routes.”

The pilot project will happen in two phases. In the first phase, a feasibility study will be completed to understand four key components in applying the technology: Local hydrogen fuel supply and storage; Vehicle design and implementation logistics; Economic and financial viability; and Greenhouse gas reduction opportunities. In the second phase, MiWay will work with CUTRIC to secure the required funding for the project through provincial and federal governments. The funding will allow the partnership to buy and operate 10 hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses, applying the knowledge acquired through the first phase.

“Taking part in the pilot program will help us learn how hydrogen fuel-cell electric bus technology will operate in MiWay’s fleet, particularly with the winter weather conditions, and how it performs compared to battery electric technology. This pilot is important and necessary to examine the feasibility of introducing this low-carbon technology into our fleet,” said Geoff Marinoff, Director, Transit. “In addition to the hydrogen fuel-cell electric bus pilot, MiWay is already preparing to enter into service 11 hybrid-electric buses that are convertible to full battery power. MiWay is also conducting a Transit Electrification Study to understand battery-electric bus conversion opportunities. Based on all of these new and innovative technologies, MiWay will learn which technology is more efficient, affordable and will achieve the targets outlined in the Climate Change Action Plan.”

For more information about MiWay’s fleet, visit miway.ca.

The City’s Climate Change Action Plan identifies 21 key actions over the next 10 years to be taken by the corporation, as well as actions for the community, which include advancing sustainable transportation through low-carbon opportunities and low-emissions mobility for the City’s corporate fleet. The main goals are to: support the shift towards lower-emission modes of transportation, such as transit, cycling; accelerate the adoption of zero emissions vehicles (light and heavy duty); decrease greenhouse gas emissions from the City’s corporate and transit fleet and equipment . For more information about the City’s Climate Change Action Plan, visit mississauga.ca/publication/climate-change-action-plan.