Working Together to Accelerate a Hydrogen Economy in the Alberta Industrial Heartland

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Hydrogen Task Force is an independent working group created to develop a framework to implement a hydrogen economy in the region. The Task Force includes a roster of government, business, energy, academic, and sustainability leaders and will produce a public report detailing the approach and steps needed to advance a zero-emission fuel economy.

Why Hydrogen?

The demand for hydrogen in the global energy system is dramatically increasing, with projections indicating at least a tenfold increase in demand in the coming decades. The unique strengths of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland make it among the world’s lowest cost producers of hydrogen – at approximately half the wholesale cost of diesel. Alberta blue hydrogen is made with ultra-low emissions by upgrading natural gas. The carbon by-product generated from this process can then be captured and permanently sequestered underground or used for another purpose.

Currently, hydrogen is used in industrial and manufacturing processes in the region, instead of as a fuel, since distribution and fueling infrastructure are not currently in place. Using hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel, and as a feedstock for other products like methanol and ammonia, provides a major long-term economic opportunity to use it domestically and export it to international markets. Hydrogen fuel has the potential to be used in a myriad of ways, including to decarbonize natural gas distribution systems, industrial processes, thermal power generation, heavy and long-distance transportation and more.

The Task Force’s important analysis is the first step to identifying the broader economic opportunities that growing large-scale clean hydrogen production and use can bring to Alberta. These efforts also complement work that the Government of Canada has been leading, with private sector stakeholders, and governments, to develop a hydrogen strategy for Canada.

Who We Are

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Hydrogen Task Force is the result of government, industry and academia coming together to champion change so Alberta can win economically and environmentally in a changing world. Members of the Task Force include:

Task Force Leaders

  • Mayor Alanna Hnatiw, Sturgeon Country
  • Mayor Don Iveson, City of Edmonton
  • Mayor Gale Katchur, Fort Saskatchewan
  • Mayor Rod Frank, Strathcona County
  • Reeve David Diduck, Lamont County

Task Force Analytical Team

  • David Layzell, Research Director, The Transition Accelerator
  • Jessica Lof, Research Lead, Hydrogen, CESAR
  • Cameron Young, Energy Systems Analyst, CESAR
  • Jonathan Leary, Research Assistant, CESAR
  • Song Sit, Senior Associate, CESAR

Special Advisors to the Analytical Team

  • Hilary Faulkner, Director, Strategic Policy and Energy Diversification, Alberta Energy
  • Oleg Podporin, Senior Policy Analyst, Natural Gas Strategy and Engagement, Alberta Energy
  • Wes Lu, Senior Analyst, Alberta Energy

Task Force Advisors

  • Mark Summers, Executive Director, Technology and Innovation at Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA)
  • Justin Riemer, Assistant Deputy Minister, Western Economic Diversification Canada, Alberta Region, Government of Canada
  • Mark Kirby, President and CEO, Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association
  • Barbra Korol, Executive Director, Strategic Policy Branch, Alberta Department of Energy
  • Chris Nash, President, Alberta Motor Transport Association
  • Sean McCoy, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Calgary
  • Jim Lothrop, Director General, Innovation Centre, Transport Canada
  • Michele Evans, Assistant Deputy Minister, Tourism and Economic Development, Government of Alberta
  • John Zhou, Vice-President, Clean Energy, Alberta Innovates
  • Helen Ryan, Assistant Deputy Minister, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Robert Hamaliuk, Executive Director, Climate Change Policy, Government of Alberta
  • Paul Cheliak, Vice-President, Government and Regulatory Affairs, Canadian Gas Association
  • Bob Koch, Professor, Faculty of Engineering, University of Alberta
  • Margaret Bateman, Senior Consultant, ZGM Marketing
  • Mollie Johnson, Assistant Deputy Minister, Natural Resources Canada


“Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Hydrogen Task Force is the result of government, industry and academia coming together to champion real change so Alberta can win economically and environmentally in a changing world. Picture Alberta using and supplying the world with zero-emission fuel made by upgrading natural gas. This could be a part of a very strong future for Alberta and Canada.”
Dan Wicklum, CEO, The Transition Accelerator

“Alberta’s abundant, low-cost feedstock, skilled labour, and extensive infrastructure can make us a leader in the production, use and export of zero-emission hydrogen. The Mayors of the five municipalities of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland are playing a key role in developing a framework that will power our economy and build our national and global reputation as innovators.”
Alanna Hnatiw, Mayor, Sturgeon County and Chair, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association

”Alberta’s Industrial Heartland has a long, proud energy history, but we need to stay current and not only accept, but drive change. Creating new markets for zero-emission hydrogen fuel, made by upgrading natural gas, is a way to capitalize on our strengths and prepare for tomorrow.”
Don Iveson, Mayor, City of Edmonton

“We know that demand for hydrogen continues to grow, both here at home and around the world. This growth provides Alberta with yet another opportunity to strengthen and extend our natural gas value chain through the development of blue hydrogen. By building on the existing knowledge and skillset of Albertans, we can attract new investment to our natural gas sector, create jobs, achieve environmental objectives, and grow Alberta’s economy. I look forward to seeing this task force help our province to become a competitive supplier of low-emission and affordable hydrogen for Canada and the world.”
Dale Nally, Associate Minister, Natural Gas and Electricity

“Canada’s natural gas delivery industry has a long-standing commitment to innovation and emission reductions. Hydrogen holds great promise as an emerging gaseous fuel option that demonstrates both of these. Our work with partners like The Transition Accelerator supports our ongoing efforts in hydrogen research and deployment. Looking to the future, gaseous fuel delivery systems will be essential to meet the world’s environmental and economic objectives. The Transition Accelerator is doing important work to ensure hydrogen is part of the fuel mix in those systems.”
Timothy M. Egan, President and CEO, Canadian Gas Association

“This is a very positive initiative that will stimulate the availability of low cost, low-carbon intensity hydrogen – allowing Canadians to choose the “fuel of the future” and thrive in a carbon-constrained world. Alberta will benefit from new jobs, investment, exportable products and technology, as will Canada’s world-leading hydrogen and fuel cell sector.”

Mark Kirby, President and CEO, Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association.


Read the full media release here.


Jess Harris  
Director of Communications 
The Transition Accelerator