Former Clearwater Seafoods CEO John Risley says his new firm has reached a deal with First Nations partners to buy the Stephenville Port for the project.
A seafood businessman from Nova Scotia is looking into the possibility of transforming wind on Newfoundland’s west coast into ecologically beneficial hydrogen.
John Risley, the chairman, and CEO of CFFI Ventures and the former CEO of Clearwater Seafoods has announced that he has reached a deal with First Nations partners to purchase the Port of Stephenville, which will be utilized to export hydrogen produced in the province throughout the world.
The announcement comes only weeks after the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador repealed a restriction on privately-owned onshore wind farms.
Wind may be utilized to produce hydrogen via the water electrolysis process, which can subsequently be used as a fuel source.
“Our aim is that the project will become a true green hydrogen project and serve as a catalyst for further green hydrogen initiatives in Newfoundland and beyond,” Risley said at the Ocean Frontier Institute Conference in Halifax last week.
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Risley was in Stephenville last week to meet with local officials and chair Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, an industry-led body that promotes innovation in the ocean-based economy.
Stephenville, he noted, plays a crucial part in the strategy as a deep-sea port from which hydrogen can be exported, as well as a wind-rich location.
Green hydrogen, he added, still has a lot to figure out, with fundamental problems like cost and investor interest remaining unanswered.
He does feel, though, that Canada can be a leader in the industry.
“Only one large-scale green hydrogen plant is currently under development in the world, and it is in Saudi Arabia. And there’s a very excellent explanation for it. The development of green hydrogen is still in its early phases “Risley said.
“At this point, all we’ve told the community and both levels of government is that we’re working hard and spending money, but we don’t know and won’t know until September or October.”
Premier Andrew Furey of Newfoundland and Labrador, who was also in Halifax for the conference, declined to comment on the prospective sale of the Stephenville port but said it’s encouraging to see interest in wind energy generation in the province.
“Petroleum products are being phased out in Europe and other parts of the world… Hydrogen will replace a big percentage of it “Furey explained.
“Wind is abundant in Newfoundland and Labrador, which may be utilized to power the electrolysis process that produces hydrogen. We have plenty of clean water… We have a staff that is fully world-class when it comes to functioning in a maritime environment — and, by the way, is used to shifting from one industry to the next — as well as deep-sea ports.”
“The more the merrier,” Furey remarked, adding that Risley’s idea isn’t the only one on the table in front of the province.