Thanks to financial contributions from the federal and provincial governments, the largest hydrogen plant in the world has the green light to proceed with construction in northeast Edmonton. Air Products’ hydrogen plant in Edmonton is projected to cost $1.6 billion and will produce up to 100,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year.
The funding was announced in early November at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology with both the Federal Innovation, Science, and Industry Minister, François-Philippe Champagne, and Government of Alberta Energy Minister Peter Guthrie in attendance.
“There’s been something quite dramatic taking place in Alberta recently, as we recognize the important role hydrogen has to play in achieving clean, secure renewable energy into the future," Energy Minister Peter Guthrie said.
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Alberta to become the world’s hub of hydrogen
Once completed in 2024, the hydrogen plant in Edmonton will be the first of its kind to generate hydrogen on such a large scale. The plant will leverage innovative technology and design to deliver “blue, but better” hydrogen which will replace diesel and natural gas as a zero-emission fuel in downstream sectors, reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the region and Western Canada.
Alberta is poised to become a leading supplier of liquid hydrogen to western Canada and the Pacific Northwest with enough capacity to fuel every public transit agency across Alberta.
“Today’s announcement is an historic investment in the net-zero economy of the future, and in the Edmonton region. This investment will further position our city as a leading hydrogen production hub for Canada and North America and is part of our government’s plan to ensure prosperity for generations to come. This investment is more proof that we are building an economy that works for everyone.”
- The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance // Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre
What is “blue, but better” hydrogen?
Currently, most industrial-scale hydrogen is produced using Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) technology. When combined with carbon capture, SMR per-unit emissions can be reduced by about half. Using advanced technology – Auto-Thermal Reforming (ATR) – Air Products will be able to capture 95% of the carbon produced which will be safely stored back underground.
The addition of a hydrogen-fueled power generation facility will further reduce CO2 intensity to a level that is close to zero. With the plant configured to export clean energy to the grid, which will help to offset high carbon intensity electricity, net-zero production is effectively achieved.
Hydrogen burns without releasing carbon and is considered to be a very promising solution for reducing transportation emissions from large vehicles like transit buses and transport trucks.
Edmonton’s future is bright – and green
Air Products’ hydrogen plant in Edmonton is a tremendous example of how the city and surrounding communities are driving the transition to a clean energy future.
The new energy complex provides options for expansion and for billions in additional private sector investment in the region over time. This represents a huge economic boost for the region and a critical step toward meeting Canada’s climate goals.
While market estimates vary widely, most suggest the value would be in the tens of billions of dollars a year by the end of the decade.
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