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Towards Hydrogen in SE Alberta

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The Southeast Alberta Hydrogen Task Force (Task Force) has released its foundational report, Towards  Hydrogen: A Hydrogen HUB Feasibility Study for Southeast Alberta (Towards Hydrogen), laying out the region’s strong potential for significant supply and demand, and a roadmap to implement hydrogen as a major fuel economy in Southeast Alberta.

The Task Force is an independent working group comprised of the City of Medicine Hat, Brooks Region, APEX Regional Innovation Network (Alberta Innovates, Community Futures – Entre Corp, and the Medicine Hat College), Palliser Economic Partnership, CF Industries, Methanex Corporation, Rockpoint Gas Storage, Campus Energy, ComTech Energy (4Refuel), and the Transition Accelerator. The report was made possible thanks in part to a federal investment of $50,000 through PrairiesCan.

Towards Hydrogen, authored by Randy Litun, Hydrogen HUB Facilitator Consultant, outlines how Southeast Alberta is well-suited to become a major merchant hydrogen generation region and Canada’s second Hydrogen HUB. The report identifies and details the significant strengths and opportunities specific to the Southeast Alberta region, including high regional demand and its potential to be among the lowest-cost producers of low-carbon intensity hydrogen in North America.

“Hydrogen is a vital part of our future clean energy system, and it also represents a tremendous economic opportunity,” says Dinara Millington, Western Network Lead for The Transition Accelerator. “This report provides the strategic context needed for Southeast Alberta to leverage its regional strengths, expand its role in Canada’s hydrogen transition, and create a foundation for long-lasting economic success.”

“The development of hydrogen fuel in Southeast Alberta will have a positive impact on both our economy and our environment by creating high quality jobs for Alberta’s energy workers while helping Canada to reach net-zero emissions by 2050,” said the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan. “Our government’s support for this initiative is contributing to evidence-based analysis that will create new opportunities for industry, investors and other stakeholders in the Prairies and across Canada.”

Among the report findings, the region:

  • has abundant hydrogen feedstock, both natural gas and renewable energy, and can generate hydrogen through various generation processes for both regional and export demand;
  • strong potential for carbon capture and sequestration utilizing high-quality saline aquifers to address CO2 emissions from existing and future industrial activity;
  • strategically located within the trans-Canadian road and rail transport and export corridor;
  • strong regional demand from diverse energy intensive industrial and agricultural operations; and
  • an existing industrial complex that currently utilizes and produces approximately 20 per cent of Alberta’s hydrogen.

Upon establishing the Southeast Hydrogen HUB, the Towards Hydrogen recommends four strategic calls to action:

1. Move forward with CCUS development as soon as possible to address existing CO2e emissions, establish low-cost blue hydrogen generation, and begin to address regional demand and attract synergistic industry;

2. Initiate discussions with regulatory and renewable power proponents to include green hydrogen as part of long-term electric generation strategy for use as both a product and a generation fuel to optimize existing transmission capacity, maximize regional generation capacity factor, and capture of excess non-peak renewable energy; 

3. Establish regional hydrogen demand by building fueling stations and return to-base operations along Trans-Canada transport corridor. Assemble a “Coalition of the Committed” — industry, associations, transport fleets, municipal fleets, and rail operations — to create supply and demand
partnerships; and

4. Build external demand from other domestic (Calgary, Lethbridge, Swift Current) and US (Montana, California, Mid-West) supply-deficient locations. Utilize existing road and rail transport infrastructure to build demand with at scale supply of hydrogen and hydrogen carriers, to position the region for larger long-term export opportunities.

“The City of Medicine Hat is proud to play a leading role in the formation of Canada’s second Hydrogen HUB,” says Mayor Linnsie Clark. “As expected, this feasibility study shows that Southeast Alberta is well-positioned to capitalize on opportunities in CCUS and hydrogen production, in addition to the role we can potentially play as a hydrogen demand generator.”

Following the publication of Towards Hydrogen, the Task Force will actively engage with additional public and private stakeholders and funding providers to work towards establishing a formal Hydrogen HUB in Southeast Alberta and initiating hydrogen pilots and projects.

Read the full report online at https://transitionaccelerator.ca/towards-hydrogen-ahydrogen-

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About the Southeast Alberta Hydrogen Task Force
The Southeast Alberta Hydrogen Task Force is an independent working group established in August 2021, to develop a framework to implement a hydrogen economy in Southeast Alberta. The group is comprised of the City of Medicine Hat, Brooks Newell Region, APEX Regional Innovation Network (Alberta Innovates, Community Futures – Entre Corp, and the Medicine Hat College), Palliser Economic Partnership, CF Industries, Methanex Corporation, Rockpoint Gas Storage, Campus Energy, ComTech Energy (4Refuel), and The Transition Accelerator with support from Prairies Economic Development Canada.