Sharing power between your car and campus: UBC’s Smart Hydrogen Energy District (SHED)

If you drive an electric car, your battery power sits unused most of the day, while the city’s energy grid is at peak use. What if you could lend power to the grid during those peak hours and have your vehicle charged up again by the time you leave the office?

This is the vision of the UBC MéridaLabs: Clean, Connected and Safe Transportation Testbed (Smart Hydrogen Energy District).

In partnership with industry and government, UBC has built a living laboratory that emulates links between energy, transportation, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and urban design.

UBC Facilities’ managed the project construction, bringing this complex innovative project into reality. The testbed consists of an advanced solar array atop Thunderbird Parkade, connected to the parkade’s energy system and a substation nearby. The parkade was retrofitted with bi-directional electric vehicle charging stations, enabling electricity to flow into vehicles and from vehicles back into the grid. Reversible EV charging highlights how buildings and cars could evolve from passive assets that sit unused for most of the day, to active participants in smart energy storage transactions.

Additional electricity is directed to an electrolyzer to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, supplying the refueling station for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.


“Hydrogen and clean electricity provide a clear path to sustainable, low-carbon economies for Canada and the world.” says project lead Dr. Walter Mérida, a professor of mechanical engineering who leads Méridalabs. “When combined with digital technologies, they can enable economic growth as transportation, telecommunications and civil infrastructures become smart and interconnected.”

The project is paving the way to a sustainable future.

Read more about the project.