Irving Oil intends to increase its hydrogen capacity at the Saint John refinery in order to offer hydrogen fuelling infrastructure in Atlantic Canada, so becoming the first firm to introduce hydrogen to the regional market.
Irving Oil will become the first oil refinery in Canada and one of the first in North America to formalize a purchase deal for a hydrogen electrolyzer.
The company’s initial investment in a 5-megawatt electrolyzer, developed by New York hydrogen technology firm Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG), is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2023, and will play a significant role in exploring further hydrogen production to drive emission reductions at the Saint John refinery, as well as clean energy solutions for downstream customers. Once fully operational, the electrolyzer will create 2 tonnes of hydrogen every day, which is enough to power 60 buses.
Today, the Irving Oil Saint John Refinery is the largest generator of hydrogen in Atlantic Canada and one of the largest in Canada, producing more than 200 tonnes of hydrogen per day to reduce the sulphur content of petroleum products. Hydrogen is now generated at the plant using natural gas, however the hydrogen electrolyzer will use electricity from the local energy grid.
Irving Oil will continue to collaborate with stakeholders to transform its hydrogen production to low-carbon, or “green,” hydrogen in the future, with the purchase of the electrolyzer serving as a crucial first step on this road. This bolsters the company’s dedication to leadership during the energy transition, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and the development of more sustainable energy solutions.
“At Irving Oil, we believe that low-carbon hydrogen production, use and distribution will play an important role in our decarbonization journey,” said Irving Oil President Ian Whitcomb. “This foundational project will accelerate our company’s learning about hydrogen as a downstream product while creating a decarbonization pathway for our Saint John refinery.”
“True to the values that have guided our company for nearly 100 years, we are committed to taking concrete steps to evolve our business for tomorrow, to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and continuing to introduce new solutions to provide our customers with safe and reliable energy every day,” said Irving Oil Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer, Sarah Irving.
“Driven by our leading electrolyzer technology and unparalleled manufacturing capacity, we are honored that Irving Oil has chosen Plug to support their initial investment in hydrogen production and look forward to expanding the partnership,” said Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug.
The initial investment in hydrogen electrolyzers is expected to contribute to Irving Oil’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. The firm is committed to pursuing industry solutions that will reduce emissions and align with carbon reduction targets, while also boosting future growth potential in Atlantic Canada and beyond.