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Hydrogen fuel cell company with Chilliwack roots breaks into South Korean bus market

Loop Energy’s eFlow fuel cells will be tested on buses operating in Ulsan Metropolitan City
Loop Energy had humble beginnings in Chilliwack, but after breaking into the Chinese market (pictured), the company’s hydrogen fuel cell module will soon be used to power buses in South Korea. (Loop Energy photo)

A company with roots in Chilliwack has made a major breakthrough in South Korea.

Loop Energy, now headquartered in Burnaby and specializing in hydrogen fuel cells, has secured a commercial agreement with NGVI, a South Korean-based manufacturer of turn-key compressed natural gas and hydrogen fuel systems for transit and coach bus applications.

The agreement is a major milestone for Loop Energy as it breaks into South Korea’s zero-emission commercial vehicle market with the latest generation eFlow hydrogen fuel cell system.

“With Loop’s state-of-the-art technology and NGVI’s system integration expertise and customer network, we believe we can make hydrogen electric transit a reality in South Korea and beyond,” said Ben Nyland, Loop Energy’s President and CEO. “Our fully integrated fuel cell system product line incorporates a lot of the input we collected from the customers, and the performance has been nothing short of outstanding. From the field data rolling in daily from previously announced municipal bus fleet in Nanjing, China, to new customer engagements in Eastern Europe and now in Korea, we are very pleased with the success we had in the transit bus market over the last few months.”

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Loop Energy was started in Chilliwack more than 20 years ago, with David Leger pulling together local investors. Leger’s hard work and his investors’ faith was rewarded earlier this year when the company went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

It was trading Thursday Aug. 19 at $4.65 per share.

The first hydrogen fuel cell system to be supplied under the agreement with NGVI will be put to work in Ulsan Metropolitan City. Ulsan is anticipated to invest around $2-million by 2024 in testing and certification of hydrogen bus technologies, supplied by a consortium of partners including NGVI. Ulsan announced a plan in 2018 to replace 40 per cent of the city’s 949 buses with hydrogen-fueled vehicles, and establish 60 hydrogen fueling stations by 2030.

After development and demonstration, buses are expected to expand to fleet use in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, where Seoul Bus Company and TCHA Partners own over 1,200 buses. The city says demand will rise as approximately 10 percent of Seoul buses are replaced or decommissioned annually. The number of buses owned by them is expected to be more than 2,000 by 2023, and the demand in the metropolitan area is expected to be more than 200 per year.

“Our major shareholders include some of Korea’s largest bus fleet operators,” said NGVI CEO David Jung. “We have chosen to partner with Loop Energy because their products combine performance and economics into one value proposition that gives fleet operators exactly what they want.”


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Eric Welsh

About the Author: Eric Welsh

I joined the Chilliwack Progress in 2007, originally hired as a sports reporter.
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