A low-carbon energy transition is underway, spurring dramatic shifts in how the world produces and consumes energy. Advancing a hydrogen energy system will play a large role in this transition for Canada.
Hydrogen offers an emissions free, economically friendly fuel to move heavy freight, including transport trucks, trains, ships and airplanes. It has promise as an energy storage mechanism to support renewable energy from wind and solar. And, it can also be a solution for net-zero heating in our homes and businesses by displacing natural gas.
Canada can make hydrogen more cheaply than almost anywhere else in the world, presenting a remarkable export opportunity. In provinces with low-carbon electricity (from hydropower, nuclear or renewables), electrolysis of water can produce green hydrogen for about the same price as wholesale diesel. In provinces with low-cost natural gas and the geology suitable for carbon capture and storage, blue hydrogen can be made by upgrading carbon-based fuels like natural gas for about half the wholesale price of diesel. In addition, making emissions free hydrogen fuel out of natural gas is a rare scenario where the economic and environmental interests of Western Canada align with the rest of the country, with compelling national unity implications. It leverages existing experience and technologies commonly used in the oil and gas sector presenting an enormous opportunity for Canada to be a global hub for the low-cost production of hydrogen.
But challenges exist. There is no hydrogen fuel economy in Canada because there is no distribution system, and there is no distribution system because there is no sustained demand at scale for hydrogen as a fuel. This is a challenge that The Transition Accelerator can help solve by working with groups to establish hydrogen hubs in key regions across the country with the ability to make low-cost hydrogen, and connecting them to create a pan-Canadian hydrogen economy.
Despite being one of the world’s lowest-cost hydrogen producers, a key competitive advantage, Canada is currently lagging in the global hydrogen race.
This white paper was prepared by The Transition Accelerator to provide techno-economic and environmental details
As Globe and Mail writer Adam Radwanski said in a recent column, “hydrogen is so hot right now.” He’s right.
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