Delta-based Hydra Energy is making accessible and affordable clean hydrogen for combustion engines in commercial trucks. By pairing unprecedented innovation in hydrogen engine technology with a supply of hydrogen recovered from waste — and priced below market rates for conventional diesel — Hydra Energy is filling a gap in the transition to a hydrogen economy.
Last month, they were one of 17 Canadian cleantech startups to receive seed funding through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), a federally backed granting institution that supports Canadian cleantech companies who are leaders in their efforts to develop and demonstrate new environmental technologies that address climate change, clean air, clean water and clean soil. But this is not their first victory. Back in 2017, they were awarded $300,000 from Innovate BC’s Ignite Program for research and development to increase fuel efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and decrease operational costs in dual-fuel heavy-duty truck fleets.
More recently, Hydra Energy took advantage of our Tech Co-op Grants Program (TCGP) to hire a student last summer. We sat down with Laura Guzman, Director of Government Affairs & Partnerships at Hydra Energy to find out more about their company, their experience working with a co-op student, and their recent funding.
Q: Tell us a little more about Hydra Energy. What problem does your technology help solve?
Laura: Together with consortium partners, we have embarked on a mission to remove the barriers for hydrogen adoption as a commodity fuel in transportation. We supply clean and affordable hydrogen fuel that we recover from waste. In addition, we retrofit heavy-duty-vehicles that run on diesel to enable hydrogen-diesel operation, which displaces 40% of diesel combustion and associated emissions.
Q: What made you apply for the Tech Co-op Grants Program?
Laura: The Tech Co-op Grants Program offers a great opportunity for both tech students and cleantech companies. It has allowed us to hire talented students to support smaller-scale tasks that are complementary to the core R&D tasks. This grant program trains tech students while also improving the efficiency of our technical team, enabling them to focus on core tasks.
Q: What did the co-op student help you achieve?
Laura: Hiring a co-op student helped Hydra increase its overall effectiveness and productivity. Having an independent and technically minded co-op student allowed the technical team to focus on their priorities, as our co-op student was able to diligently handle any work that was given to him. In addition to helping the team when required, he also independently managed his own project with minimal oversight. This helped the technical team speed up timelines on their own deliverables and reduce the amount of overtime required, leading to an overall happier work environment.
Q: Any success stories from working together with the student?
Laura: As a small team, every member is integral to operations, and our co-op student fit into our culture and framework quite effortlessly. Having a small team necessitates relatively independent workers, which can be difficult. However, our co-op student was able to thrive in the environment and independently develop an embedded electronic display with only minor guidance from the team. Completing such a complicated project is a huge achievement for a co-op student.
Q: Congratulations on the funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada. Is there a particular new project or technology that this will help develop?
Laura: Hydra Energy has proven that our retrofit system for heavy duty vehicles can displace up to 40% of diesel use without affecting the vehicle’s performance. The SDTC funding will support us as we scale up operations to be able to retrofit multiple vehicles at once.
Would your company benefit from our Tech Co-op Grants Program? You could receive up to $20,000 a year to hire co-op students to help your business grow.