As Ottawa city councillors vote this week on whether to convert OC Transpo's entire bus fleet to all-electric vehicles, an Ontario company says its technology could retrofit existing vehicles for a much lower cost.
Ontario-based dynaCERT says its units are installed on an existing diesel vehicle, and use electrolysis to turn distilled water into hydrogen. The vehicle's diesel is burned with the hydrogen, reducing fuel consumption and harmful exhausts, the company says.
"Historically, it's proven difficult for municipalities to reduce their emissions in a meaningful way, in something that's actually going to make sense," says Jamie MacDonald, president of Mobile Emissions Testing Inc., an Ottawa-based reseller of dynaCERT's HydraGEN emission reduction units.
MacDonald estimates he could sell OC Transpo a HydrGEN unit for each existing diesel bus for a total cost of around $4.5-million.
The proposal before Ottawa city council is expected to cost $986-million over the first five years, and involves a $400-million loan from the federal government's infrastructure bank, to purchase the buses and all of their necessary infrastructure like charging equipment and electrical upgrades for the St. Laurent bus garage. The loan would be repaid with the operational savings from the lower cost of running electric buses instead of their diesel predecessors. The electric buses would be purchased in stages between 2022 and 2036.
The dynaCERT units need to be kept stocked with distilled water, but they can be installed on any diesel vehicle, not just transit buses.
"This product, on a brand-new truck, was able to reduce the [nitrogen oxide] emissions by 88.7 per cent," MacDonald tells CityNews Ottawa's The Rob Snow Show. "During that same investigation of the technology, we proved a 55.3 per cent reduction in particlate matter -- black soot."
MacDonald says the testing was carried out in Germany, where the HydraGEN devices were approved for sale by Germany's transport ministry.