Calgary-based Gas Liquids Engineering (GLE) has successfully concluded the detailed engineering phase for the integration of hydrogen production and storage as part of ATCO Gas and Pipelines’ Fort Saskatchewan hydrogen blending project.
This initiative aims to produce hydrogen through electrolysis, store it temporarily, and introduce it into ATCO’s existing natural gas distribution system, benefiting approximately 2,100 customers. GLE played a vital role in designing the on-site storage tank, vent stack, and piping, which will connect to ATCO’s electrolyzer and blending facility.
The project’s implementation began in October 2022 with a hydrogen blend rate of approximately 5%, the highest in the country. ATCO has plans to increase the blend rate to 20% by the end of this year. Customers who receive hydrogen-blended natural gas will enjoy uninterrupted service reliability and appliance functionality while reducing their carbon footprint.
Justin Wagner, GLE’s director of facilities engineering, expressed enthusiasm for collaborating with ATCO in producing more environmentally friendly gas products. He sees the project as a natural first step towards fostering a hydrogen economy in Canada, leveraging the extensive natural gas network.
According to Patrick Bain, ATCO’s director of hydrogen projects and technology development, transitioning heating needs to hydrogen in the future will be cost-effective and maintain the same level of safety and reliability as natural gas. This transition will play a pivotal role in emissions reduction as ATCO’s systems gradually shift to using 100% hydrogen.
The next phase for ATCO, with the support of GLE, involves integrating the electrolyzer into the system to initiate on-site hydrogen production.