Alberta Utility Gets Funding for H2 Blending Plan
Alberta energy infrastructure developer Canadian Utilities (CU) said July 21 it had received C$2.1mn (US$1.6mn) in funding from the Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) sponsored Natural Gas Challenge to advance its first-of-a-kind hydrogen blending project in Fort Saskatchewan, just outside the provincial capital of Edmonton.
The funding from ERA is part of a broader tranche of $58.4mn of support awarded earlier to 20 projects under the Natural Gas Challenge.
Once complete, CU’s project will be Canada’s largest hydrogen blending initiative, injecting up to 5% hydrogen by volume into a section of Fort Saskatchewan’s residential natural gas distribution network, lowering the carbon intensity of the natural gas burned by its customers.
“Affordably decarbonising the production of heat is vital to achieve our long-term emissions and energy goals, particularly in our cold Canadian climate, and hydrogen can play a powerful role,” said Siegfried Kiefer, CEO of Canadian Utilities, a subsidiary of gas and power conglomerate Atco. “This project is an important first step for Alberta, which has all the ingredients needed to be a leader in the hydrogen economy – including the ability to produce near zero-emissions hydrogen at a lower cost than virtually any other jurisdiction in the world.”
CU will use hydrogen derived from domestically-produced natural gas, with the intent to eventually leverage Alberta’s existing carbon capture and sequestration infrastructure to store emissions associated with the production process. The utility will also engage with Fort Saskatchewan customers to create awareness about the safety of hydrogen, its environmental benefits and the “considerable” economic potential of developing a hydrogen value chain in Alberta.
“This project will not only create jobs, but a roadmap for hydrogen in Alberta, using low-cost, responsibly produced natural gas while leveraging the province’s existing investment in carbon capture technology,” said George Lidgett, CU’s executive vice president and utilities general manager. “Our vision is to enable western Canada’s world-class natural gas industry to grow in tandem with Alberta’s hydrogen economy, including supplying eventual exports to global markets where demand is steadily growing.”
The Fort Saskatchewan Blending Project is expected to get underway in September with commercial and community activities. Construction is planned to begin in Q1 2021.