Image of Toyota Mirai designated for the Edmonton International Airport fleet
Travellers passing through the Edmonton International Airport (YEG) will soon be able to see hydrogen-powered vehicles on roadways after the airport announced it was ordering 100 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). Photo: Toyota Canada

Users to include the airport’s own fleet as well as taxi companies and car rental services, via YEG’s partnership with Toyota and hydrogen producer Air Products

Travellers passing through the Edmonton International Airport (YEG) will soon be able to see hydrogen-powered vehicles around the facility and on area roadways after the airport announced it was ordering 100 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).

A portion of the Mirai order will be used to replace some of the airport’s existing vehicle fleet. The remaining FCEVs will be utilized by various partners within the airport’s ecosystem, including taxi companies, car rental services, and local municipal fleets, says a spokesperson for YEG in an email to Electric Autonomy.

Stephen Beatty, vice-president, corporate, Toyota Canada praised YEG for the “bold and innovative” step of introducing vehicles into its fleet.

“YEG’s fleet of Toyota Mirai FCEVs will help accelerate the use of hydrogen in Alberta and having on-site hydrogen fuelling infrastructure will make them a true hub, spurring the growth of Alberta’s hydrogen economy,” he said in a press statement.

The airport is gradually phasing the cars into its fleet, with deliveries and deployment scheduled to take place from now through the end of 2024.

Setting up refuelling station

To fuel the hydrogen fleet, the airport partnered with Pennsylvania-based hydrogen producer Air Products to establish an interim mobile hydrogen refuelling station.

“Air Products is proud to support Edmonton International Airport in this first-mover project to establish the first passenger hydrogen fuel cell vehicle fleet in Alberta,” said Eric Guter, Air Products’ global vice-president, hydrogen for mobility, in a separate press release.

“Access to clean hydrogen fuelling infrastructure is key to the energy transition and efforts to decarbonize transportation.”

Looking ahead, YEG has its sights set on developing permanent hydrogen fueling stations directly on-site at the airport in the future.

“YEG is still exploring partnerships,” says the YEG spokesperson. “We want to ensure fuel switching is economical and a positive experience, so we are evaluating our options to ensure long-term sustainability.”

Supporting regional hydrogen fleet goals

YEG says its decision to integrate hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles into its operations reflects its commitment to reducing its environmental footprint.

“Edmonton International Airport is on its way to net-zero emissions by 2040 and is actively building partnerships and pathways for the adoption of emerging sustainable technologies,” says the spokesperson. “This initiative will reduce carbon emissions and contribute to YEG’s goal of being net-zero by 2040.”

In addition to meeting the airport’s sustainability goals, the purchase of the 100 Toyota Mirai FCEVs is also in line with the region’s commitment to adopt more hydrogen technology within the transportation sector.

In April, the Edmonton Metro Region launched a 5,000-vehicle challenge, which aims to put 5,000 hydrogen fuel cell and hydrogen dual-fuel vehicles on Alberta’s roads by 2028.

“Diversifying Canada’s energy portfolio is key to a prosperous future for Canadians, one that creates good-paying careers, and helps us achieve our 2050 net-zero goals,” said Randy Boissonnault, minister of tourism, associate minister of finance, and MP for Edmonton Centre, in the YEG news release.

“[The] announcement with Toyota Canada and the Edmonton International Airport further positions the Edmonton region as a national leader in hydrogen, providing local businesses, residents and visitors access to FCEVs for their transportation needs.”

Ontario’s first hydrogen refuelling station

Elsewhere across the country, Toronto Pearson International Airport will also soon be home to Ontario’s first public hydrogen refuelling station.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority is teaming up with engineering and contracting company Carlsun Energy Solutions to build the hydrogen station for both light- and heavy-duty vehicles at Pearson.

“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 Jason Van Geel, president of Carlsun Energy, in a press note.

A portion of the project’s financing will come from a $1-million funding contribution from Natural Resources Canada.

“The Government of Canada is supporting innovation across the transportation sector – including through enabling the first public hydrogen refuelling station in Ontario for light and heavy-duty vehicles,” said Julie Dabrusin, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

“This novel project is helping to create good jobs and deliver clean air while ensuring Ontarians can access clean fuels as we build a net-zero economy.”

1 comment
  1. Hydrogen “might” make sense for air travel but it is demonstrably unsuitable for vehicles.
    BEV’s and charging stations would be a more appropriate use of their money.

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