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Shift to hydrogen at Port of Vancouver led by companies with Chilliwack roots

‘This is a first-of-its-kind in the world, and no small feat,’ says TYCROP rep about pilot project
Rendering of rubber-tired gantry crane at Port of Vancouver where DP World is decarbonizing its RTG fleets with partners TYCROP and Loop Energy’s H2 Portable. (TYCROP)

Two companies with Chilliwack roots have partnered on a pilot project focused on a shift from diesel fuel to hydrogen electric power at the Port of Vancouver.

Industrial product innovator TYCROP, and hydrogen fuel-cell maker Loop Energy, announced jointly on Wednesday (Sept. 13) they will be providing a “hydrogen electric solution” for DP World’s rubber-tired gantry crane (RTG) fleet at the Port of Vancouver.

With commitments to cut emissions, and reach net zero carbon status by 2040, port operator DP World is out to decarbonize its global fleets, and invest in renewable power, starting in Vancouver by converting the cranes to hydrogen electric power.

“Rubber-tired gantry” cranes, or RTGs powered by diesel fuel create as much as half of the emissions in the shore area. RTGs are the massive overhead crane structures on wheels that remove containers from ships.

“We’ve developed a groundbreaking hydrogen electric generator (HEG) capable of replacing one megawatt of diesel power and eliminating the consumption of 80,000 litres of diesel fuel each year,” said TYCROP chief executive officer Scott Mason.

The partnerships cemented so far with this pilot are helping to smooth TYCROP’s entry into the world of hydrogen electric technology, he noted.

“The HEG, combined with a lithium battery and our energy regeneration technology, provides DP World with class-leading energy efficiency. We are excited to see this technology come to life, and together with the team at H2 Portable, explore other future applications.”

TYCROP founders began welding on a Chilliwack dairy farm in 1978 which led to them building trailers for the agricultural industry. The Rosedale-based manufacturing company underwent several transformations on the way to becoming the innovative “industrial product creators” with this pilot.

“In 2019 we began our journey into industrial electrification which helped further advance our customer’s ability to reduce their reliance on diesel,” Mason said.

They’re slowly become experts in hydrogen, including obtaining certification at their facilities for hydrogen testing.

“So when David Leger, also from Chilliwack, founder of fuel cell technology company Loop Energy, approached TYCROP in 2020 to work alongside his upstart company H2 Portable on the idea of developing hydrogen-powered equipment to displace diesel applications, it made perfect sense for us to partner together for success,” Mason said.

“The scope of work and complexity of this project meant that TYCROP was best suited to undertake and lead the entire project, including innovation, design, engineering, component selection, product development, controls, installation, and testing.

“This is a first-of-its-kind in the world,” Mason noted, “and no small feat to achieve requiring significant resources, expertise, teamwork and cooperation between industry and government.”

TYCROP and H2 Portable are among the growing number of firms across North America committed to tech focused on decarbonizing fleets.

“Projects like the RTG Pilot with DP World in Vancouver are critically important because they demonstrate what can be achieved when all stakeholders work together to fund and support clean technologies that will transform industry and the way people work.

“This isn’t just something on paper, a thesis on what’s possible, this technology is coming to life on the factory floor of our facilities in Rosedale, and DP World will be operating a hydrogen powered RTG by next summer.”

Skilled jobs are coming to the region as a result of this strong growth of the tech sector.

“Ultimately our expectation is that this project and other similar developments we are working on together with H2 Portable will provide valuable and exciting jobs. In addition, we believe our efforts help create additional gravitational pull towards growing technology development throughout the Fraser Valley region.

“TYCROP and H2 Portable enjoy an excellent partnership, share a common mission to create technologies that benefit the planet, and we hope other companies are inspired to join us here in the great City of Chilliwack.”

DP World’s RTG crane will be fitted with a TYCROP-designed dual fuel system powered by two of Loop Energy’s T505 fuel cell systems. The pilot project will see DP World’s first RTG powered by hydrogen fuel cell systems put into operation at the Port of Vancouver.

The pilot project is expected to be in operation by the second quarter of 2024, and will be used as a demonstrator to scale the electrification across the organization’s global fleet in subsequent phases.

RELATED: TYCROP makes industrial improvements through innovation

Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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