May 19, 2022 — A partnership of leading energy companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to produce, transport, and burn hydrogen in a small-scale pilot project at the Suffield natural gas storage facility (part of the AECO HubTM) in Alberta, Canada (“Suffield”). It is anticipated that in fall 2022, green hydrogen will be trucked to Alberta and delivered to its destination turning the concept into reality.
The aim of the project is to demonstrate and analyze the entire value chain of hydrogen from producer to storage to end user. Hydrogen produced by Plug from renewable sources will be transported by Certarus Ltd. (“Certarus”), North America’s largest integrated provider of mobile low carbon energy solutions, to Suffield. Rockpoint Gas Storage (“Rockpoint”), the largest independent owner and operator of natural gas storage in North America, will take delivery of the hydrogen and will consume it in its above surface processes as the existing regulatory regime does not yet allow hydrogen blending in a subsurface storage facility. FortisBC, a gas and electric utility leading the transformation of the Canadian renewable and low carbon gas sector, will act as the purchaser of the green hydrogen and FortisBC’s gas storage account with AECO will be credited for the renewable hydrogen used to displace natural gas.
Natural gas storage is crucial in maintaining the reliability of supply for consumers. Gas storage balances the market and is a conduit that brings buyers and sellers together. As hydrogen becomes more common as a mainstream energy source, storage will be a key factor in a functional and successful hydrogen sector.
“To move the energy transition forward we must take bold steps to produce, transport, store and use hydrogen for commercialization,” remarked Sheri Doell, Vice President, Origination and Renewable Energy at Rockpoint. “Partnering with world class organizations like Plug, Certarus and FortisBC, each with a unique set of skills and experience, is key to creating viable pathways for the hydrogen economy.”
This pilot project will demonstrate how existing natural gas storage infrastructure can be utilized to accelerate the energy transition by bridging the timing and location challenges of matching hydrogen production and consumer demand.
FortisBC was the first utility in Canada to provide its customers with renewable natural gas in 2011, setting the groundwork for delivering other renewable and low carbon gases, like hydrogen, to British Columbians. Developing a better understanding of hydrogen transportation and storage adds to the expanding expertise the organization is developing as it pushes towards having at least 15 percent of its gas supply be renewable and low carbon by 2030.
“FortisBC continues to aggressively decarbonize its natural gas system by expanding its renewable and low carbon gas supply,” said Joe Mazza, Vice President of Energy Supply and Resource Development with FortisBC. “This partnership with industry leaders is a great step for us to expand our understanding of hydrogen before safely delivering it to our customers.”
“Certarus is thrilled to be able to contribute to innovative projects that demonstrate the viable applications of hydrogen that exist today. We see the repurposing of natural gas enabled technology as an effective way to encourage hydrogen adoption and accelerate decarbonization. Participating in pilot projects like this allow us to show what is possible, while building the supply chain needed to advance the low carbon energy transition,” said Curtis Philippon, President & CEO, Certarus.