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Canada: Multi-billion dollar hydrogen complex in Edmonton announced

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Air Products and its subsidiary Air Products Canada, in collaboration with the Government of Canada and the Province of Alberta, have announced a multi-billion dollar plan to build a landmark new net-zero hydrogen energy complex in Edmonton, Alberta, which will establish Edmonton as the heart of western Canada’s hydrogen economy and allow Air Products to operate the most competitive and low-carbon-intensity hydrogen power plant in the world.

Hydrogen is a critical facilitator for carbon neutrality by 2050, according to Canada’s clean energy diversification policy and regulatory framework.

Air Products started construction on the core of this world-scale energy complex in Edmonton in 2018, with a transformative $1.3 billion (CAD) net-zero hydrogen generation and liquefaction facility slated to come online in 2024.

This project has been approved by Air Products’ Board of Directors, subject to the finalization of the agreements envisioned in signed Memorandums of Understanding between Air Products and Canadian authorities, as well as the receipt of all necessary permit approvals. This development is in line with Air Products’ long-term growth strategy of completing global megaprojects that help the world move to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.

To kick-start an ambitious transition to carbon neutrality, the project uses a unique combination of well-established technology. It will be a model for other countries throughout the world, leveraging Canada’s enormous and low-cost natural resources, broad infrastructure, highly skilled workforce, and innovative spirit.

To achieve net-zero emissions, Air Products will use modern hydrogen technology and inventive design. The new facility will capture over 95 percent of the CO2 produced by the natural gas feedstock and safely store it below. The remaining 5% of emissions will be offset by hydrogen-fueled energy. The renewable energy complex will aid the Air Products Heartland Hydrogen Pipeline’s refining and petrochemical customers in lowering their carbon intensity. The complex is also a first in Alberta for the wider usage of hydrogen, allowing for the manufacturing of liquid hydrogen to be used as an emissions-free transportation fuel and to create clean energy. Alberta’s carbon emissions are predicted to decrease as a result of this.

Air Products, which is already Canada’s leading hydrogen supplier, is considering additional investments in both existing and new hydrogen facilities in Alberta and across the country, assisting customers in improving their sustainability performance while also supporting the hydrogen economy and Canada’s energy transition. The Edmonton project site was chosen strategically to allow the energy complex to expand, including the replication of net-zero hydrogen production equipment to satisfy expanding demand. The existing Heartland Hydrogen Pipeline network from Air Products was built for expansion and has the capacity to more than treble present quantities.

The hydrogen business of Air Products in Alberta is expected to produce over 1,500 tonnes of hydrogen per day and collect more than three million tonnes of CO2 per year. Air Products will initially construct, own, and manage a new net-zero hydrogen complex that will include:

ATR hydrogen production facility with Haldor Topsoe technology will be developed on a big project site in Edmonton with potential for expansion;

Carbon capture operations that are capable of removing 95% of CO2 from the facility. By utilizing the Wolf Carbon Solutions-owned and operated Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, the CO2 will be permanently sequestered.

To achieve the net-zero hydrogen facility design, a power generation facility fueled entirely by hydrogen, incorporating Baker Hughes’ NovaLT16 turbines, will produce clean electricity for the whole facility and export it to the grid, balancing the 5% leftover CO2 emissions.

Air Products has constructed a 30 tonne-per-day hydrogen liquefaction facility, the first of its kind in the world, to offer clean hydrogen to Western Canada’s booming industrial and mobility hydrogen sectors.

Air Products constructed a large-scale air separation facility to support the ATR operation and provide clean liquid oxygen and nitrogen for the merchant industrial gas market; and

Connection to Air Products’ existing Alberta Heartland Hydrogen Pipeline network for increased dependability and phased decarbonization.

The hydrogen liquefaction facility will play an important part in Western Canada’s growing hydrogen industry. Hydrogen will aid in meeting society’s demand for environmentally friendly transportation, particularly in heavy-duty vehicles, where it outperforms other technologies. Due to the duty-cycles of heavy-duty vehicles, hydrogen is seen as having a significant technological advantage over battery electric vehicles in heavy-duty applications, especially in Canada’s harsh climate conditions. Hydrogen as a transportation fuel is the most similar to standard consumer transportation fuel, and Air Products has been a pioneer in this field for decades. Air Products’ technology are utilized in over 1.5 million refuelings per year across 20 nations, and the business has worked on over 250 projects.

“We sincerely appreciate the support of the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta, Invest Alberta, the Mayor of Edmonton and Edmonton Global. We are proud to expand our presence in this dynamic region, where we have found a vision for decarbonization that mirrors our core values,” said Seifi Ghasemi, Air Products’ Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Sustainability is our pathway to growth and central to Air Products’ business every day around the world. By being a first mover and investing in this innovative landmark project, we are paving the way for hydrogen from Edmonton to meet industrial and transportation needs throughout western Canada. Our highly integrated project will be a model for net-zero atmospheric gas, hydrogen and power production consistent with our announced growth platforms.”

“As the global leader in hydrogen production, Air Products is focused on providing competitive solutions for our customers. The combination of multiple facilities, state of the art technologies, our existing 55-kilometer Alberta Heartland Hydrogen pipeline, our project execution expertise, and our record of reliable operations will set the benchmark for competitive hydrogen to support growth in Alberta for many years to come,” said Dr. Samir J. Serhan, Air Products’ Chief Operating Officer. “Air Products has decades of hydrogen fueling experience around the world and we are excited and ready for the developing market in Canada.”

“Our well-established Edmonton team is proud of the outstanding safety and reliability record of our existing operations,” said Rachel Smith, Air Products Canada Vice President. “We fully intend to earn that same reputation with our new facility construction and operations while also creating well-paying jobs in the Edmonton region. By design, the new complex will utilize Alberta’s natural gas resources to produce net-zero hydrogen, reducing the environmental footprint of the refining sector and facilitating future growth in the hydrogen economy in Edmonton and the Alberta Industrial Heartland.”

Hon. Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta, said, “Alberta is a leader in emission reduction and responsible energy development. Alberta’s combination of competitive taxes, abundant natural resources, and innovation are attracting new investment by world-leading companies, like Air Products, to expand their operations right here in our province. This also demonstrates early success for Invest Alberta, with its mandate to promote our province as an international investment destination for new and exciting large-scale opportunities that build on Alberta’s experience and expertise.”

Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said, “As consumers and investors demand lower-emitting products, we will continue to support Canadians and businesses who are ambitious about seizing these opportunities, creating good jobs, and helping Canada achieve net-zero by 2050. We are always ready to roll up our sleeves with provincial, municipal, and business partners to reach these goals. Today’s Air Products announcement demonstrates that our government’s policies are attracting investments in Canada’s energy sector and ensuring that Alberta’s workers and ingenuity play a key part in Canada’s economic recovery.”

Hon. Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources, said, “Hydrogen’s moment has come. It’s the low-carbon fuel that gets us to net zero. This opportunity will create thousands of jobs and use the skills and expertise of workers in Alberta to lead Canada to the forefront of the global hydrogen market. Working with Alberta and Air Products Canada, we are building a low-emissions energy future that leaves no one behind.”

Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton, said, “This project is a key milestone for Edmonton’s low carbon future. It will harness the energy expertise of the Edmonton metro region to produce liquid hydrogen that could be used to fuel city buses and other transportation applications across western Canada, and ultimately serve lucrative export markets as well. The 2,500 construction jobs, substantial local tax revenue, and spin-off benefits for decades to come are also welcome in the COVID recovery context. Along with our neighbours in the Edmonton Region Hydrogen Hub, we’ve leaned into Northern Alberta’s competitive advantages to drive growth in the hydrogen economy. With that parallel focus on regional prosperity and energy transition, the team at Edmonton Global have engaged closely with Air Products for many months, leading to today’s win for our community.”

David Knight Legg, CEO of Invest Alberta Corporation, said, “The future of net-zero is in the hands of engineers, entrepreneurs, investors, and companies like Air Products. We’re proud to welcome Air Products’ expansion of its Alberta operations and look forward to working with Seifi’s globally renowned team as they create jobs, investment and innovative solutions for net-zero hydrogen production and carbon capture and storage in Alberta.”

Arnes Biogradlija
Creative Content Director at EnergyNews.Biz

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