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Comment Sustainability

Air Products to build world-scale blue-hydrogen plant in Edmonton, Canada

By Mary Page Bailey |

Air Products (Lehigh Valley, Pa.) and its subsidiary Air Products Canada Ltd., in conjunction with the Government of Canada and the Province of Alberta, announced a multi-billion dollar plan to build a landmark new net-zero hydrogen energy complex that will make Edmonton, Alberta the center of western Canada’s hydrogen economy and set the stage for Air Products to operate the most competitive and lowest-carbon-intensity hydrogen network in the world. 

Canada’s clean energy diversification strategy and regulatory framework make clear that hydrogen is a key enabler for carbon neutrality by 2050. Aligned with that vision, Air Products began work in 2018 on the core of this world-scale energy complex in Edmonton, which will begin with a transformative $1.3 billion (CAD) net-zero hydrogen production and liquefaction facility expected onstream in 2024. This project has been approved by Air Products’ Board of Directors, subject to final completion of the agreements contemplated in signed Memorandums of Understanding between Air Products and Canadian authorities, and with appropriate permit approvals. This development is consistent with Air Products’ growth strategy of executing global megaprojects that enable a transition to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.

The project relies on an innovative combination of well-established technologies to jump-start an ambitious transition to carbon neutrality. It will take advantage of Canada’s abundant and low-cost natural resources, extensive infrastructure, highly skilled workforce, and innovative spirit to be a model for other jurisdictions around the globe.   

hydrogen

Air Products’ hydrogen business in Alberta is envisioned to reach over 1,500 tons of hydrogen production per day and achieve greater than three million tons per year of CO2 capture (Source: Air Products)

 “As the global leader in hydrogen production, Air Products is focused on providing competitive solutions for our customers. The combination of multiple facilities, state of the art technologies, our existing 55-kilometer Alberta Heartland Hydrogen pipeline, our project execution expertise, and our record of reliable operations will set the benchmark for competitive hydrogen to support growth in Alberta for many years to come,” said Dr. Samir J. Serhan, Air Products’ Chief Operating Officer. “Air Products has decades of hydrogen fueling experience around the world and we are excited and ready for the developing market in Canada.”

Air Products will deploy advanced hydrogen technology and innovative design to deliver net-zero emissions. The new facility will capture over 95 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) from the feedstock natural gas and store it safely back underground. Hydrogen-fueled electricity will offset the remaining five percent of emissions. The clean energy complex will help refining and petrochemical customers served by the Air Products Heartland Hydrogen Pipeline to reduce their carbon intensity. The complex also marks a first in the wider use of hydrogen in Alberta, enabling the production of liquid hydrogen to be an emissions-free fuel in the transportation sector, and to generate clean electricity. This is expected to have a positive impact in lowering Alberta’s carbon emissions.

Air Products, already Canada’s leading hydrogen supplier, is also considering further investments in both existing and new hydrogen facilities in Alberta and across Canada, helping customers improve their sustainability performance while bolstering the hydrogen economy and Canada’s energy transition. The Edmonton project site was strategically selected to permit expansion of the energy complex, including replication of net-zero hydrogen production assets to meet growing demand. Air Products’ existing Heartland Hydrogen Pipeline network was designed for growth and has the capability to more than triple current volumes. 

Air Products’ hydrogen business in Alberta is envisioned to reach over 1,500 tonnes of hydrogen production per day and achieve greater than three million tonnes per year of CO2 capture. Initially, Air Products will build, own, and operate a new net-zero hydrogen complex consisting of a:

  • World-scale Auto-Thermal Reformer (ATR) hydrogen production facility, featuring Haldor Topsoe technology, to be built on a large project site in Edmonton that has room for expansion;
  • Carbon capture operations capable of achieving 95 percent removal of CO2 from the complex. The CO2 will be permanently sequestered by leveraging the Wolf Carbon Solutions wholly-owned and operated Alberta Carbon Trunk Line;
  • Power generation facility fueled 100 percent by hydrogen, including NovaLT16 turbines provided by Baker Hughes, to produce clean electricity for the entire facility and export to the grid, offsetting the five percent remaining CO2 to achieve the net-zero hydrogen facility design; 
  • 30 tonnes-per-day hydrogen liquefaction facility designed by Air Products, the first of such liquid hydrogen operations around the world to provide clean hydrogen to the growing industrial and mobility hydrogen markets across Western Canada;
  • World-scale air separation facility, designed by Air Products to support the ATR operation and to produce clean liquid oxygen and nitrogen for the merchant industrial gas market; and
  • Connection to Air Products’ existing Alberta Heartland Hydrogen Pipeline network for enhanced reliability and phased decarbonization of the entire network.

The hydrogen liquefaction facility will play a critical role in the developing hydrogen economy across Western Canada. Hydrogen is seen as having a substantial technological advantage over battery electric vehicles in heavy-duty applications due to those vehicles’ duty-cycles, especially in Canada’s extreme climate conditions.

Air Products Canada currently operates three hydrogen production facilities in Alberta, and a 55-kilometer hydrogen pipeline in the Alberta Industrial Heartland. The company also operates a hydrogen production facility, a 30-kilometer pipeline network and a liquefaction facility in Sarnia, Ontario. The company’s excellent safety record includes operating over 1,100-kilometers of hydrogen pipelines worldwide with no incidents. 

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