Toronto’s Pearson Airport to host hydrogen refuelling station

By The Canadian Press

Toronto’s Pearson Airport will be home to Ontario’s first public hydrogen refuelling station.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) and Carlsun Energy announced in a news release Thursday that the refuelling station will have the capability for both cars and transport trucks.

Carlsun will build, own and operate the station, which the two groups said is enabled by a $1 million investment from Natural Resources Canada.

Pearson Airport is an ideal location for this station, said Julie Dabrusin, the parliamentary secretary for the minister of natural resources and the minister of environment and climate change.

“Today’s a pretty exciting day,” she said at a press conference Thursday. “Through novel investments like this, we’re building a sustainable refuelling network for people to use.”

There are currently five retail hydrogen stations across the country, four of which are in British Columbia and the fifth in Quebec, according to Natural Resources Canada.

“With a significant share of Canada’s emissions coming from the transportation sector in Ontario, it’s imperative that we start deploying hydrogen infrastructure in transportation corridors,” said Carlsun president Jason Van Geel in the news release.

“We truly hope this is the start of a rollout of stations along major transportation corridors across Ontario,” said Van Geel at the press conference.

Hydrogen extracted from water and methane

He said initially, the company plans to talk to a wide variety of hydrogen suppliers through a competitive bid process, noting that hydrogen can be made in several ways, including through fossil fuels or electricity. The goal of the project is to accelerate a path to low-carbon hydrogen at the station, he said.

Hydrogen is typically extracted from sources including water and methane and can be used as a fuel in fuel-cell-powered electric vehicles. It’s a clean-burning fuel, meaning it doesn’t produce greenhouse gases or other pollutants.

The intended customers for the station are a mix of everyday and commercial ground vehicles, as well as a “captive audience” of GTAA vehicles, said Todd Ernst, the GTAA’s director of aviation infrastructure, energy and environment.

Toronto pearson

A sign for Toronto Pearson International Airport is pictured in Mississauga, Ont., on Thursday, April 20, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Arlyn McAdorey.

The GTAA will be procuring five hydrogen-powered passenger vehicles to add to the airport authority’s light fleet, he said: “That’ll be us dipping our toe into hydrogen for the first time.”

The station will be able to accommodate up to 18-wheeler vehicles, he said.

The GTAA said this station is part of Pearson Airport’s commitment to clean and efficient energy solutions.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in the press release that the new station will help ensure supply chains continue to grow amid the fight against climate change.

Natural Resources Canada’s hydrogen strategy seeks to “position Canada as a world-leading producer, user and exporter of clean hydrogen, and associated technologies,” according to the department’s website.

The country signed a deal with Germany almost a year ago to help start a transatlantic hydrogen supply chain, with the first deliveries expected by 2025.

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