Hydrogen and Strathcona County

Article Republished By Javier Troconis

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We hear a lot about hydrogen and the potential for the energy sector to diversify in Alberta by adding this as a dependable source of energy. I wanted to share a little more about some of our industry partners in Strathcona County that are already exploring and implementing new initiatives.

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Here’s some background on what hydrogen is. There are three types of hydrogen. Grey hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels, low cost to create and currently accounts for most of the globally produced and consumed hydrogen. Blue hydrogen is produced from natural gas and carbon capture (with the potential for low-carbon or carbon-neutral hydrogen). Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using zero-carbon electricity, is a high cost to accomplish, but would allow for renewable energy.

Blue hydrogen is where Alberta is set to be a leader in the industry.

Last week, I attended the Canadian Hydrogen Convention (CHC) in Edmonton hosted by Edmonton Global. There were petrochemical industry leaders, scientists, researchers, investors and more from across the county, North America and even the world. This was the first CHC but already was the largest hydrogen convention in the world.

They came to Edmonton because we have the Edmonton Hydrogen Hub. Our region has the some of the world’s lowest cost feedstock, expertise and experience from traditional energy sector and world-class carbon capture & storage (CCS) capabilities. We’re strategically located with access to two western ports, centrally located along transportation corridors, have an existing diversified industry base, strategic infrastructure and a strong labour force.

On the third day of the convention, Alberta Industrial Heartland organized a tour of the Strathcona Industrial Area and the Industrial Heartland. Shell Scotford was part of the tour as they are a leader in diversification. In 2015 they added the Quest CCS facility and to date have stored more than six million tonnes of CO2 emissions; working towards their target to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050.

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Additional diversifications that will have positive environmental impacts include Imperial Oil’s Strathcona Refinery plan to use canola, soy, and/or sunflower oils in combination with hydrogen, produced from natural gas with carbon-sequestration facilities, to make its renewable diesel. The facility will produce one billion liters of biofuel annually and would be the largest facility of this type in Canada.

Inter Pipeline Heartland Petrochemical Complex (HPC) is another Strathcona County based plant. It will produce polypropylene (PP) that is projected to have a GHG emissions footprint 65 per cent lower than the global average and 35 per cent lower compared to average North American PP facilities. By using their own produced hydrogen as fuel in the HPC, it will reduce their carbon footprint by as much as 130,000 tonnes annually. Inter Pipeline has partnered with NAIT on applied research to look at ways to reuse and recycle plastic in Canada. The ten-year agreement, known as Plastics Research in Action, is funded by a $10 million commitment from Inter Pipeline, the largest applied research partnership in NAIT’s history.

There are many more examples of innovation with a strong focus on reducing emissions and lowering impacts on the environment. Oil and gas producers are leading the way for diversification; they have a strong connection to the community and know environmental impacts need to be addressed. These are part of their path to be sustainable energy companies for decades to come.

For more, visit their websites for additional information on these initiatives or head to Strathcona County’s website Industrial development | Strathcona County.

Katie Berghofer is a second term Councillor representing Ward 8, for Strathcona County. To sign up to receive her e-newsletter online, visit:

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