Hydrogen will play a vital role in Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, according to two reports from the University of Calgary released Thursday.
the Reports investigate how energy generated from hydrogen can be used to bridge today’s fossil fuel-based systems and complement renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.
“We now know that energy efficiency is a key strategy and clean electrification is a key strategy, but they don’t work together,” Chris Bataille, an industrial decarbonization specialist and one of the report’s authors, told CTV News Edmonton.
“We know we have to switch to other fuels and biofuels and a few other things,” he said. “But hydrogen is also a key strategy.”
Bataille said hydrogen can do many of the same things as natural gas, but it can be made by two clean methods.
“You can make it from methane and bury the CO2 underground, or you can make it from clean electricity through electrolysis.”
Simon Fraser University associate professor said that industries in Alberta such as chemical production, fertilizer production and refining of crude oil were the first practical applications for hydrogen technology.
“But at some point you want to think about getting it into the electricity sector,” Bataille said. “Mix it with natural gas in the combustion turbines that are used to generate electricity, and eventually convert them completely.”
One of the two reports co-authored by Bataille states that “Alberta has many advantages that allow hydrogen as a way to decarbonise its electricity grid.”
“First, the steam and combustion turbines that run on natural gas to generate electricity in Alberta today can be adapted to use hydrogen, capturing and storing the greenhouse gases emitted during the production of hydrogen,” the report said in part.
“And third, at a time when the province’s renewable energy sources are producing excess electricity, that electricity can be used to produce hydrogen that can be stored for later use when renewable energy becomes less available.”
In June, a major hydrogen manufacturing company, Air Products Inc., signed a letter of intent with all three levels of government to invest $ 1.3 billion in the construction of a net-zero hydrogen energy complex east of Edmonton.
The site would produce hydrogen-powered electricity and liquid hydrogen for international markets.
According to Air Products Inc., the “landmark” site would be operational by 2024 if everything goes according to plan.
Last year the Alberta government announced its plan to “become a global supplier of clean, responsibly sourced natural gas.” Natural gas vision strategy.
The province’s strategy includes the goal of exporting hydrogen worldwide by 2040.
“Getting the refugees under control is absolutely critical to a clean and stable transition for Alberta and Saskatchewan,” said Bataille.
“It’s the methane that comes out of the well, that comes out of the pipelines, that is flared and incompletely burned.”
Bataille pointed out that methane that isn’t burned is a 30 to 100 times more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.
He said the process of reducing methane emissions is labor intensive but technically easy to do.
“One of the most important things the Alberta government could get involved in right now, probably fairly uncontroversial, is to dramatically reduce these refugees.”
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Amanda Anderson