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Project will examine repurposing gas infrastructure for hydrogen use.

By Dale Lunan

A quartet of Canadian companies active in the emerging hydrogen energy market said May 5 they had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to produce, transport and burn hydrogen in a small pilot project at Suffield, Alberta, home of the AECO gas marketing hub southeast of Calgary.

The four – hydrogen fuel cell developer Plug, low-carbon energy transporter Certarus, BC gas and electric utility FortisBC and Rockpoint Gas Storage – hope to be producing green hydrogen in BC by this autumn and trucking it to Alberta. Once delivered to Suffield, Rockpoint will consume the hydrogen in its above surface processes, since the current regulatory regime doesn’t provide for hydrogen blending in a subsurface storage facility.

FortisBC will act as the purchaser of the green hydrogen and its. gas storage account with AECO will be credited for the renewable hydrogen used to displace natural gas.

“To move the energy transition forward we must take bold steps to produce, transport, store and use hydrogen for commercialisation,” said Sheri Doell, Rockpoint’s vice president, origination and renewable energy. “Partnering with world class organisations like Plug, Certarus and FortisBC, each with a unique set of skills and experience, is key to creating viable pathways for the hydrogen economy.”

Natural gas storage is crucial in maintaining the reliability of supply for consumers, balancing the market and acting as a conduit to bring buyers and sellers together. The pilot project is expected to demonstrate how existing storage infrastructure can be utilised to bridge the timing and location challenges of matching hydrogen production and consumer demand.