Edmonton’s Immense Hydrogen Potential
- Hydrogen is needed for Canada to successfully meet its clean energy goals.
- Edmonton and Alberta already have much of the right infrastructure and feedstocks needed to grow a thriving hydrogen economy.
- Expertise and talent from Alberta’s oil and gas sector will help with the building and operating of new hydrogen infrastructure.
For Canada to remain competitive in the hydrogen economy, all stakeholders need continued collaboration between industry and government in order to advance technologies and innovation.
Tell us about Air Products Canada.
Air Products is a world-leading, global industrial gas company that is headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania. We have been in operation for over 80 years, providing essential industrial gases that benefit our customers around the world. This includes products like nitrogen, oxygen, argon, helium and the much talked about hydrogen. Today, Air Products is the world’s largest hydrogen producer and we are proud to be Canada’s leading hydrogen supplier.
With decades of global hydrogen experience, Air Products has the proven capability to safely produce, distribute and dispense this increasingly important fuel.
Lastly, Air Products is driving sustainable growth through executing megaprojects around the world that enable a transition to a cleaner energy future. We develop, engineer, build, own and operate some of the world’s largest gasification, carbon capture and hydrogen projects. A great example of this is our exciting new net-zero hydrogen energy complex in Edmonton, Alberta.
What is the potential for hydrogen in the future economy?
The world will struggle to meet climate change goals without the use of hydrogen in the energy transition as a zero-emission fuel. Hydrogen has played a key role in reducing emissions in the refining and petrochemical sectors for many years. Now, the global race is on to reduce emissions by harnessing the benefits of hydrogen across other sectors. Examples of this include power generation by displacing natural gas and transportation, specifically for heavy-duty vehicles like trucks, trains and transit.
“Liquid hydrogen meets fuel cell quality specifications, provides delivery location flexibility and most mirrors the traditional consumer fueling experience. “
In our new facility, we use hydrogen to generate clean power as well as support the transition of the transportation sector with liquid hydrogen. Why liquid hydrogen? Liquid hydrogen meets fuel cell quality specifications, provides delivery location flexibility and most mirrors the traditional consumer fueling experience.
Can Canada lead in the hydrogen economy? What must be done to help Canada achieve that?
That is a great question. Canada can absolutely lead. Canada is well-positioned to be a global leader in the emerging hydrogen economy. Back in June, our chief executive officer (CEO) and chairman, Seifi Ghasemi, talked about Canada’s advantages in our news conference with the Federal Minister, the Premier of Alberta and the Mayor of Edmonton. He highlighted two important elements that Canada has: one, Canada has strong political leadership establishing climate change goals, a clean energy transition vision and collaboration across all levels of government. Two, Canada is rich in the right feedstocks and strategic energy infrastructure. This includes renewable power, abundant natural gas, carbon dioxide infrastructure and viable geology for sequestration.
To remain competitive in the hydrogen economy, we need continued collaboration and focus on advancing technologies and innovation in Canada. Our new facility is a great example of this by utilizing modern technology with an innovative design to achieve net-zero emissions producing hydrogen from natural gas. This is why we refer to hydrogen as “blue, but better.”
Why did Air Products choose to invest in Edmonton?
Edmonton was chosen for our new facility for several reasons, including proximity to our customers and our existing hydrogen pipeline network, a suitable large plant site that ensures space for future expansions, access to carbon dioxide infrastructure and viable geology for sequestration, a local workforce with the specialized skills that we need and supportive local, regional and provincial governments with forward-looking clean energy visions.
“Edmonton offers a multi-source hydrogen distribution network that delivers on safety, reliability and improved efficiency,”
You asked what unique competitive advantages does the region offer. Let me answer this in two ways, in terms of today and in the future. Today, Edmonton offers a multi-source hydrogen distribution network that delivers on safety, reliability and improved efficiency through economies of scale investments and modern technology.
In the future, with the addition of our new net-zero facility to our existing pipeline network, Edmonton and the surrounding region will be home to the lowest-carbon hydrogen network in the world.
Alberta has a long history of advancing technologies and innovation in the oil and gas sector. A few easy examples that come to mind would be the development of the oil sands, and more recently, Alberta’s experience in carbon capture and sequestration. The focus on technology and innovation perfected by Alberta’s oil and gas sector will lead the emerging hydrogen economy and create Canada’s clean energy future.
“There is a unique concentration of talent in Edmonton to help us construct and operate our world-scale hydrogen investments.”
Our experience in the Edmonton and the Industrial Heartland region is that there is a unique concentration of talent in Edmonton to help us construct and operate our world-scale hydrogen investments. Alberta’s technical schools and universities provide high-quality programs. Post-secondary institutions in Alberta help establish a solid foundation of knowledge to develop a strong workforce in the energy sector. In addition, companies like Air Products offer work terms that then help students gain valuable field experience in hydrogen production facilities.
Can you expand on the environmental benefits of hydrogen and what those benefits represent for the Canadian economy?
There are four key items that make our new hydrogen energy complex in Edmonton a breakthrough project from an environmental perspective. First is the modern technology that was selected. We are utilizing autothermal reforming (ATR) technology that will enable us to capture over 95% of the carbon dioxide.
Second, the facility has an innovative design that will help it achieve net-zero emissions. We will be utilizing a portion of the hydrogen produced to supply a 100% hydrogen-fired power generation facility. This will produce clean electricity for the entire complex as well as for export to the grid that then offsets that remaining 5% of carbon dioxide.
Third, the addition of this new facility to our existing hydrogen network will provide our customers with enhanced reliability and help improve their sustainability performance.
Fourth is the inclusion of a liquefaction facility. This will be the first in Western Canada. Liquid hydrogen will support the transition of the transportation sector to a zero-emission fuel, creating a cleaner energy future for Canada.