Hydrogen has the potential to play a key role in the transition to net-zero and Alberta is positioning itself to be at the forefront of the global race.
Over 8,000 people from across the world gathered in the province’s capital last week for the Canadian Hydrogen Convention which was held April 25 to 27 at the Edmonton Convention Centre.
Industry, government, and other interested parties gathering to explore budding opportunities in hydrogen development.
“Edmonton region has been supplying energy to world for over 70 years. Now, we are ready for our third and most pivotal energy transformation, the hydrogen economy. It is truly a thrilling time to be part of the energy industry,” said Edmonton Mayor Amerjeet Sohi who was one of the opening speakers at the event.
Sohi named coal and oil as the first two energy transformations and said that oil transformed us from a sleepy farming province to one of the richest, most educated, skilled, and industrious provinces in the country.
“Our predictable regulatory framework, and unique geology supports carbon capture, utilization and storage, enabling the production of low cost, low carbon, hydrogen on a global scale,” he said.
Alanna Hnatiw, honorary chair of the convention and mayor of Sturgeon County, said traditional resources are being reimagined.
“Here we have abundant resources including natural gas and renewable energy sources that can be harnessed to produce hydrogen. We have a strong foundation of research and development, as well as a highly skilled workforce that is ready to take on the challenges of this rapidly evolving industry,” she said.
Hnatiw said Canada has been a pioneer in hydrogen technology for decades.
“Along with our partners we are shaping how Canada will learn about support and adopt an entirely new energy infrastructure and build a comprehensive hydrogen ecosystem that will support the value chain and the national economy,” she said.
The exhibition was fueled by a 20 per cent hydrogen-to-natural gas blend. This was the first exhibition and conference in North American to be fueled by H2 and, according to a press statement, is one of several hydrogen projects by ATCO and Certarus.
The convention also served as a platform for hydrogen-based announcements including announcements from Air Products and Edmonton Global.
On April 25, Eric Guter, global vice president for Air Products announced, “a multi-modal hydrogen refueling station.” The station would be located near Air Products $1.6 billion net-zero hydrogen energy complex in Northeast Edmonton, a press release said.
The station is slated to open in early 2025 and will have “a capacity of up to six tonnes of hydrogen per day.”
“The hydrogen refueling station is supported in part by $1 million (CAD) in funding from Natural Resources Canada’s Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program,” stated a press release on the project.
The Edmonton Region Hydrogen Hub also launched the 5,000 Hydrogen Vehicle Challenge on Tuesday.
The challenge has aims to get 5,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles on the road by 2025 with a larger goal of 30,000 hydrogen vehicles on the road by 2035, according to a press statement.
Alberta Energy Minister Peter Guthrie spoke about three projects the province has funded worth $600 million including $408 million to Inter Pipeline in April of 2021 under the Alberta Petrochemical Incentive Program for their propane to polypropylene plastics facility; $161 million to Air Products natural gas hydrogen facility in Alberta’s Heartland in November 2022; and $32 million to Dow Canada’s expansion of its ethylene plant last fall.
“That’s just the start. A fourth project will be announced very soon and more than a dozen others,” Guthrie said.
Guthrie spoke of collaboration between government, industry and indigenous communities.
“We all know that (hydrogen) has huge potential. And here in Alberta, we’re striving to be a big part of that market. But none of this can be done in a silo, which is why conferences like this one, connections that we make are so important.
“Continued efforts to reduce emissions and create a thriving hydrogen economy will take a lot of hard work,” he said.
By Jessica Nelson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on May 02, 2023