A city-scale testbed
We are building the first phases of a city-scale platform for energy system design on our Vancouver campus.
Located next to a sub-station at the corner of Wesbrook Mall and Thunderbird Boulevard, the project will transform a city block into a smart-energy district.
We are integrating common urban assets (e.g., electric vehicles, boilers and buildings) to develop new technologies and economic models for individuals, cities and utilities. Download a project summary ⇩
A place for community
The testbed will link two narratives —technology and people.
It will provide a space to gather, engage and think deeply
about the way we want to live.
An innovation platform
Clean, connected and safe infrastructure
Renewable electricity generation has matured after dramatic cost reductions in the last decade. The sector is ready for breakthroughs at the city scale.
We develop technologies, software, and systems linking transportation assets to a 1 MW photovoltaic array (as a proxy for renewable solutions at maturity, and with reliable cost, financing and performance models). Vehicles, refuelling stations and buildings will become active participants in utility-scale energy management.
Batteries on wheels
Cars can remain stationary for more than 80% of the time, and most buildings are empty at night. By aggregating the battery capacity in each car, we can enable large-scale energy storage in a parking garage.
Anticipating the electrification and digitization of urban mobility, we develop new technologies and business models for smart urban infrastructure.
Beyond renewable electricity
Renewable electricity is great. However, the largest demand for energy is not electricity. Several sectors (air and surface transport, space heating, air conditioning, steel production, etc.) require a chemical fuel. Hydrogen is the simplest (and cleanest) chemical fuel. It can be produced from electricity and water in large quantities.
We are exploring low- and zero-carbon pathways to produce hydrogen, including normal and supercritical water electrolysis.
The other electric vehicle
Batteries may not be sufficient for large vehicles. Trucks, trains, ships, and airplanes need a lot of energy per trip. Hydrogen fuel cells can link renewable electricity to these applications.
We are building a hydrogen refueling station on campus to service light- and heavy-duty fuel cell vehicles.
Power to gas
The natural gas grid represents a very large storage vessel for intermittent, renewable electricity.
We will convert solar and hydro-electricity into hydrogen which will then be injected into our campus grid. In this way, we can decarbonize space heating by running our boilers on natural gas blends, or pure hydrogen.
Breakthrough hydrogen technologies
We are developing low- and zero-carbon pathways for hydrogen production, as well as breakthrough technologies for liquefaction and end use.
As new technologies are developed, we will test and validate their performance and business cases in an integrated system.
Digitizing the low-carbon economy
UBC is a founding partner of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster, and in 2019, it became the first 5G campus in Canada.
Our testbed will enable the natural evolution of energy infrastructure: from passive assets into a seamless network of people, information, technologies, and services.
Smartphones on wheels
Cars are becoming smart, interconnected and shared. We are using machine learning to evaluate the impact of electric, connected and autonomous vehicles on the built environment. We will use these models to evaluate the most effective deployment policies.
Develop evidence-based policies for clean growth under low-carbon policies.
Become partners in pilot projects for economic development
Explore new ownership, investment and insurance models
Explore breakthrough technologies in the context of an integrated system
Benefit from a mid-scale installation in a low-risk demonstration site
Collaborate in breakthrough research on sustainable energy