Hydrogen key to decarbonizing gas system and advancing provincial climate change goals
Surrey, BC /CNW/ - The move towards more low carbon gases in B.C. continues as a new pilot project in Port Moody will produce zero-carbon hydrogen. A partnership between FortisBC Energy Inc. (FortisBC), Suncor Energy (Suncor) and Hazer Group Limited (Hazer) will bring a groundbreaking new technology to the province to produce clean burning hydrogen from natural gas.
Using an innovative methane pyrolysis technology for the first time in North America, the project, located at Suncor's Burrard Terminal site, would produce hydrogen while storing the carbon byproduct as solid synthetic graphite that can be sold on the open market for manufacturing or industrial use. If the pilot continues as a full commercial build out, the project would be expected to produce up to 2,500 tonnes of hydrogen per year. This equates to roughly 300,000 gigajoules of clean-burning gas energy that can replace the equivalent annual natural gas usage of approximately 3,300 B.C. households.
"FortisBC is transforming BC's energy future. While we are in the early stages of an exciting energy transformation with this hydrogen project, innovative partnerships like this will help accelerate that change. Renewable and low carbon gases, like hydrogen, are instrumental in reducing greenhouse gas emissions effectively and affordably while ensuring we have a resilient and diversified energy system for British Columbians," said Roger Dall'Antonia, president and CEO of FortisBC.
Hydrogen is a unique gas energy as it produces no carbon dioxide when burned. It can be produced in a number of ways, including through electrolysis (separating hydrogen from water using electricity) or through separating it from natural gas. Hydrogen generated from natural gas with the carbon byproduct being captured as solid carbon is referred to as "turquoise" hydrogen and has far lower and more easily managed lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions associated with it.
"Innovative technologies such as the Hazer Process offer enormous potential to create new economic opportunities while supporting the de-carbonization objectives of FortisBC and the province. We are delighted to work with FortisBC, Suncor and the government of B.C. on this innovative project which will be a world-leading example of the application of methane pyrolysis," said Geoff Ward, CEO and managing director of Hazer.
The project is being funded directly from the partner companies and by the provincial government's CleanBC Industry Fund. The Fund supports projects that can advance innovative solutions for industry greenhouse gas emissions, like renewable and low carbon gases. The provincial government has placed clear emphasis on the importance of hydrogen in the province, releasing the provincial hydrogen strategy in 2021 and establishing the B.C. Hydrogen Office to assist the rapid advancement of hydrogen projects.
"Hydrogen is critical to our transition to a cleaner, low-carbon energy system. We are supporting innovation like the Hazer Process with B.C. Hydrogen Strategy and CleanBC," said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. "The Hazer Process is helping us achieve our climate goals while supporting good-paying jobs for British Columbians".
The addition of hydrogen to FortisBC's renewable and low carbon gas supply is critical to the company's ongoing efforts to decarbonize the gas system. Ongoing research is being conducted, both through this project and in conjunction with the University of British Columbia-Okanagan, on how to blend hydrogen into the existing gas infrastructure. A recent study commissioned by the provincial government, FortisBC and the BC Bioenergy Network found that the potential for hydrogen production in the province could exceed 200 petajoules by 2050 – roughly enough gas to completely replace current natural gas volumes.
"Hydrogen has the potential be a significant part of the future energy mix and is a key part of Suncor's strategy to be a net zero GHG emissions company by 2050," said Kris Smith, executive vice president Downstream, Suncor. "We appreciate the B.C. government's support for the development work on this project. And we look forward to continuing to work together on this project that, if sanctioned, will bring low carbon intensity hydrogen supply to the Greater Vancouver Area."
The first phase of the project is now underway including front-end engineering, design studies and permitting applications. By the end of 2023, a prototype version of the Hazer hydrogen reactor is expected to be constructed onsite at the Burrard location for testing.
About FortisBC Energy Inc.
FortisBC Energy Inc. is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, Renewable Natural Gas and propane. FortisBC Energy Inc. employs more than 2,000 British Columbians and serves approximately 1,054,097 customers across British Columbia. FortisBC Energy Inc. owns and operates approximately 50,182 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Energy Inc. is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry. FortisBC Energy Inc. uses the FortisBC name and logo under license from Fortis Inc. For further information on FortisBC, visit www.fortisbc.com. For further information on Fortis Inc., visit www.fortisinc.com.
About Suncor Energy Inc.
Suncor Energy is Canada's leading integrated energy company. Suncor's operations include oil sands development and upgrading, offshore oil and gas, petroleum refining in Canada and the U.S., and the company's Petro-Canada retail and wholesale distribution networks including Canada's Electric Highway, a coast-to-coast network of fast-charging EV stations. Suncor is developing petroleum resources while advancing the transition to a low-emissions future through investment in power, renewable fuels and hydrogen. Suncor also conducts energy trading activities focused principally on the marketing and trading of crude oil, natural gas, byproducts, refined products and power. Suncor has been recognized for its performance and transparent reporting on the Dow Jones Sustainability index, FTSE4Good and CDP. Suncor is also listed on the UN Global Compact 100 stock index. Suncor's common shares (symbol: SU) are listed on the TSX and NYSE.
About Hazer Group Limited
Hazer Group Limited ("Hazer" or "the Company") is an ASX-listed technology development company undertaking the commercialisation of the Hazer Process, a low-emission hydrogen and graphite production process. The Hazer Process enables the effective conversion of natural gas and similar methane feedstocks, into hydrogen and high-quality graphite, using iron ore as a process catalyst.