What we talk about when we talk about nothing
When it comes to energy, everything depends on us emitting nothing–the energy we need with absolutely none of the emissions we don’t.
With its ability to provide energy without carbon and seamlessly work within our existing infrastructure, hydrogen presents an exciting opportunity for ATCO, Alberta and the world.
Hydrogen Fast Facts
Colourless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic and non-poisonous.
When burned, H2 produces water vapour and no carbon emissions.
When produced with renewable electricity, the process is carbon neutral.
An efficient way to store and transport energy.
In a first of its kind project for Alberta, ATCO will blend hydrogen into a subsection of its Fort Saskatchewan natural gas distribution system at a concentration of five percent, by volume. Because combustion of hydrogen emits only water, blending hydrogen into natural gas reduces the greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of the natural gas stream.
Hydrogen blending is common in other countries, including Australia, where ATCO’s Clean Energy Innovation Hub is already generating hydrogen energy with the help of solar power and delivering it through their existing gas network. In Alberta, ATCO will use hydrogen derived from natural gas, supporting the ongoing exploration and production of Alberta’s abundant natural gas resources and demonstrating the safe and effective blending of hydrogen into the natural gas distribution system.
Not only will this create a roadmap for substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the future, it will also bring many benefits to the Alberta economy and, most importantly, our customers.
Clean Energy Innovation Hub
With the support of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency we’re investing $3.3 million in a leading research and development facility at our Jandakot Operations Centre, called the Clean Energy Innovation Hub.
Our industry-leading Clean Energy Innovation Hub is a testing bed for hybrid energy solutions and it integrates natural gas, solar PV, battery storage and hydrogen production.
The Clean Energy Innovation Hub is providing valuable insights into how our extensive existing gas distribution infrastructure can continue to benefit customers as part of the future energy mix.
CLEAN ENERGY INNOVATION PARK
Building on from the CEIH research, ATCO was awarded $375,000 from the Western Australian Renewable Hydrogen Fund to conduct a feasibility study into the development of a commercial scale hydrogen production plant, which we have named the Clean Energy Innovation Park (CEIP).
The feasibility study, to which ATCO will contribute $125,000, is currently taking place, and the information from the study will be used to explore our hydrogen investment options.
Should the feasibility study return positive results, our next steps will be to build and commence operation of the CEIP by March 2022.
Hydrogen has the potential to play an important role in a cleaner energy future.
Hydrogen is already in use all around the world. That means there are lots of resources for you to browse. Over time, we'll collect the best resources here to give you a complete picture on hydrogen and the ways in which ATCO is using it.
Do you have a question not answered here? Use the contact form below to ask and we'll get back to you!
Why does ATCO want to pursue hydrogen as an energy carrier of the future?
At ATCO, we are committed to being a leader in promoting a more environmentally sustainable future by providing cleaner, reliable and affordable energy to customers in Alberta and across the globe. By leveraging our natural gas resources, existing infrastructure, and energy expertise, Alberta can produce ultra-low emissions hydrogen at a lower cost than almost any other jurisdiction in the world.
Hydrogen can play a powerful role in affordably decarbonizing the production of heat, which is vital to achieve Canada’s long-term emissions and energy goals, particularly in our cold Canadian climate.
Is hydrogen safe?
Yes. As with natural gas, hydrogen can be produced, transported, stored and used safely. Just like natural gas, it must be treated with respect and with the proper care and handling.
At ATCO, safety is always the first and top priority in everything we do. We care deeply about our people and our customers and would never move forward with a project that is not safe. Our experts will conduct numerous inspections and testing of the target network infrastructure and customers’ domestic appliances to ensure safety.
Hydrogen is becoming central to the decarbonization plans in many advanced economies around the globe such as Australia, Germany, Japan, and South Korea. In fact, the Hawaiian gas network currently contains 10 to 15 per cent hydrogen and the Hong Kong gas network contains approximately 50 per cent hydrogen.
Will my natural gas bill be affected by having blended gas?
No, our Fort Saskatchewan customers will not notice any difference on their natural gas bill.
Does ATCO have any previous experience with hydrogen projects?
Yes, we are actively piloting new and innovative applications for hydrogen, including our Clean Energy Innovation Hub, located in Western Australia. The facility is a test bed for hybrid energy solutions and integrates natural gas, solar, battery storage and hydrogen production, as well as the commercial application of clean energy in micro-grid systems.
ATCO has also teamed up with Australia's Fortescue Metals Group to build and operate hydrogen refueling facilities for vehicles in Western Australia.
Why would you want to blend hydrogen into natural gas?
Blending hydrogen into natural gas reduces the greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of the natural gas stream, thus creating a lower carbon energy for our customers. Blending hydrogen is not a new technology, as there are several systems already in operation in Europe, as well as at our own Clean Energy Innovation Hub in Australia.
Will this impact my appliances?
No. Extensive research has found that hydrogen blended into natural gas systems at ratios exceeding 30 per cent did not impact the appliance.
Specific to the Fort Saskatchewan Hydrogen Blending Project, at the proposed blending rate of 5 per cent, customers will not notice any difference in the performance or safety of their appliances. Be sure to check out our appliance testing video that shows how the different blends of hydrogen affect the look of the flame in a stovetop, furnace and fireplace.
Has this blending technology been used before, or are we the first?
Several hydrogen blending projects are currently operating in Europe. This is the first project of its kind here in Alberta that uses existing local resources and infrastructure to blend hydrogen into a subsection of Fort Saskatchewan’s residential natural gas distribution system.