Hydrogen represents a significant economic opportunity for Alberta’s energy sector and the province. By 2050, it is expected that the world’s hydrogen economy will be worth $2.5 to 11 trillion. Alberta is well positioned to be a key part of the global hydrogen economy.
The hydrogen economy is expected to bring both widespread direct and indirect economic benefits to Alberta. As world-scale hydrogen projects are developed, new employment opportunities are expected in the province for professionals, scientists, and trades while other energy sector jobs integrate with the new hydrogen economy.
By 2030, it is anticipated that the hydrogen economy in Alberta could bring tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity during the construction phase, as well as thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity during the project operations phase.
Hydrogen policy foundation
Alberta’s Natural Gas Strategy and Vision commits to
- pursue investment
- improve the province’s competitiveness
- expand Alberta’s access to new markets, and
- position a more diversified, resilient natural gas sector.
Alberta’s approach supports renewable and natural gas resources that are capable of producing low-carbon, clean hydrogen.
Alberta’s Hydrogen Roadmap further commits to actions related to hydrogen investment, including policy actions to reduce risk to investors, and enable access to capital for clean hydrogen production.
Alberta has the resources and experience to produce some of the lowest cost, clean hydrogen in the world, these advantages include:
Alberta can leverage its existing natural gas reserves, renewable energy resources, extensive pipelines and energy infrastructure to play a leading role in Canada’s clean hydrogen economy. Alberta has low-cost natural gas a primary feedstock for hydrogen.
Alberta has world-class environmental standards and practices in place. Alberta’s strong environmental, social, and governance record is the foundation for a new strategy that will elevate leadership and accountability.
Alberta is a committed leader in innovation, greenhouse gas emission reduction research, and carbon management. Alberta’s innovation agencies such as Emissions Reduction Alberta and Alberta Innovates have provided over $61 million in funding to 14 hydrogen projects. These projects include hydrogen powered buses, trucks, and locomotives, new hydrogen production technologies, hydrogen blending into utility markets, and development of hydrogen hubs.
Competitive business environment
On top of having the lowest corporate tax rate in Canada, Alberta offers the Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program. Under the program, when a project becomes operational, up to 12% of eligible operational costs will be returned in a grant to attract investment in the province’s hydrogen production facilities equipped with Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS). Alberta is home to world-scale CCUS projects, multiple industrial clusters, and has the geology to store sequestered carbon capture.
Experience and scale
Alberta is already the largest hydrogen producer in Canada. Alberta’s workforce knows how to safely produce, handle and use large quantities of hydrogen. The companies below have already invested in industrial processes for hydrogen.
Private hydrogen investment
Alberta’s private sector is already investing in the provincial hydrogen economy, recent projects include:
Projects for industrial processes, power generation and energy storage
- Dow Chemical’s Net-Zero Emissions Ethylene and Derivatives Facility: A proposal for the world’s first net-zero carbon emissions integrated ethylene cracker and derivatives facility in Alberta. The operation will be fuelled by hydrogen that is converted from cracker-off gas.
- Strathcona Refinery Renewable Diesel Expansion: Imperial is constructing a renewable diesel complex with carbon capture that will source natural gas-based hydrogen as feedstock.
- Northern Petrochemical Corporation Ammonia and Methanol Production Facility: This carbon-neutral production facility near Grande Prairie will be looking to produce ammonia and methanol.
- Nauticol Grande Prairie Methanol Plant: This methanol production facility near Grande Prairie will be using hydrogen as a process input. Connection to carbon sequestration infrastructure operated by Enhance Energy is planned for the future.
- Suncor ATCO Hydrogen Project: Suncor and ATCO are collaborating on the early stage design and engineering for a clean hydrogen project near Fort Saskatchewan. According to Suncor, approximately 65% of the hydrogen would be used by Suncor in refining processes and cogeneration of steam and electricity, reducing emissions by up to 60% at its Edmonton refinery.
- Capital Power Hydrogen-Capable Gas Turbines: New Mitsubishi Power gas turbines acquired by Capital Power for its coal-to-gas conversions at the Genesee generating station are hydrogen-capable and, able to operate with a mixture of natural gas and up to 30% hydrogen with future conversion up to 100% hydrogen.
Projects for vehicle transportation
- Alberta Zero Emissions Truck Electrification Collaboration (AZETEC): Several organizations in Alberta have collaborated on a 700 km range hydrogen fuel cell electric truck that will carry freight between Edmonton and Calgary.
- Alberta Zero Emission Hydrogen Transit (AZEHT): New Flyer is supplying two fuel cell electric buses powered with Ballard’s fuel cell technology to the City of Edmonton and Strathcona County.
- CP Hydrogen Locomotive Program: Canadian Pacific (CP) is testing hydrogen-powered locomotives.
- Fuel Cell Zero-Emission Forklift Fleet at Walmart Canada: Walmart Canada’s Balzac Fresh Food Distribution Centre has a fleet of hydrogen-powered forklifts.
- Blue Hydrogen-Diesel Dual Fuel Engine Technology Development (PDF, 310 KB): The University of Alberta, partnered with The Transition Accelerator with partial funding from Alberta Innovates, to test a hydrogen delivery system and control software solution. A major engine original equipment manufacturer plans to demonstrate the co-injection of clean hydrogen and diesel into a Class 8 diesel internal combustion engine.
- Edmonton International Airport’s Airport City Sustainability Campus: Edmonton International Airport announced a hydrogen-powered Airport City Sustainability Campus initiative with several companies, including JOIN, Mitsui, Hydra Energy, Hercules Logistics, VEXSL, Letenda, SBI Bioenergy, Toyota, and True Zero. The initiative includes hydrogen fueling stations, hydrogen-fueled vehicles, and technology partnerships.
Projects for export
- ITOCHU Blue Ammonia Production Facility: A feasibility study is being conducted by Petronas Energy Canada Ltd. and Itochu Corp. to use natural gas to produce blue ammonia for export primarily to Japan.
- Air Products’ Alberta Net-Zero Hydrogen Complex: This $1.3 billion auto-thermal hydrogen production facility based in Edmonton is expected to be on-stream in 2024 producing a natural-gas based hydrogen.
- Mitsubishi and Shell Memorandum of Understanding: Mitsubishi is aiming to partner with Shell Canada to build a low-carbon hydrogen production facility near the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park in Scotford. Hydrogen will be converted to ammonia for export to Asian markets.
Government hydrogen investment
The Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation supports Indigenous communities participating in resource development projects. The corporation has the authority to provide up to C$1 billion in loan guarantees to support the ability of Indigenous communities to raise capital and invest in natural resource projects.
The Government of Alberta has also created Invest Alberta, a Crown corporation dedicated to investment attraction with a mandate to engage the world and provide high-end, tailored support to investors and major new investment projects.
Alberta Innovates and Emissions Reduction Alberta are provincial public agencies that provide innovation ecosystem support. Both agencies have provided over $61 million in funding to 14 hydrogen projects. Alberta Innovates now hosts the Hydrogen Centre of Excellence, and is providing funding for early phase and industry growth programs, including funding for clean energy. Emissions Reduction Alberta is currently providing rounds of funding for innovative technology projects, as well as infrastructure upgrades for businesses.
- Edmonton Region Hydrogen Hub: An alliance of government, Indigenous, and economic development organizations looking to kick-start the Edmonton Region’s hydrogen economy.
- Southeast Alberta Hydrogen Task Force: A task force led by Invest Medicine Hat, including government and industry, is supporting a foundational study that will identify broader economic opportunities associated with growing large-scale clean hydrogen and use in the southeast Alberta region.
Connect with the Natural Gas Strategy and Engagement Branch:
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Email: [email protected]
Natural Gas Strategy and Engagement Branch
6th Floor, North Petroleum Plaza
9945 108 Street*
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2G6
* Couriers, please report to the 2nd floor.
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