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Ontario investing in hydrogen integration

By CJ Goater Nov 23, 2023 | 1:26 PM

Ontario Energy Minister, Todd Smith - Acadia Broadcasting File Photo

The Ontario government is investing $5.9 million in nine new projects that will integrate hydrogen into the province’s electricity grid.

This funding is through the Hydrogen Innovation Fund which supports projects that focus on the production of reliable, affordable and clean electricity from hydrogen to help power the province’s growth.

“Our government is building new electricity generation and storage to power the next major international investment, the new homes we are building and industries as they grow and electrify,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy.

“Natural gas currently performs a critical role in keeping the lights on during periods of peak demand, and we are investing now in new technologies like hydrogen that could help meet this demand going forward.”

As part of today’s funding, Atura Power is receiving $4.1 million to blend hydrogen with natural gas to produce electricity at Halton Hills Generating Station (HHGS) making it the largest electricity-based, grid-connected, low-carbon hydrogen blending project in Canada’s history.

The Niagara Hydrogen Centre will utilize excess water that would otherwise have been spilled over Niagara Falls to create clean electricity that will be used to produce clean hydrogen for the project.

Andrea Khanjin, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks explained that by 2050 the hydrogen economy could create over 100,000 jobs across the province, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 megatons per year.

“When we talk about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the 50 megatons per year, what does that really mean in a practical sense? Well, that means removing over 50 million cars off the road,” said Khanjin.

The eight other projects receiving funding include:

• Capital Power is receiving $206,300 to study the feasibility of blending hydrogen with natural gas (between 5 per cent to 15 per cent hydrogen) at their existing Brampton, Windsor and Newmarket generation facilities.

• Capital Power is also receiving $150,000 to study the feasibility of producing and storing low-carbon hydrogen, produced from wind generation, to fuel a hybrid hydrogen-methane turbine at their Goderich location.

• HydroMéga Services in Cochrane is receiving $100,000 to study the feasibility of upgrading an existing 27-megawatt natural gas facility to include renewable generation, low-carbon hydrogen production and storage.

• York University is receiving $38,000 to study the feasibility of retrofitting existing gas turbine generators to blend hydrogen with natural gas to generate electricity. York University is also receiving $90,000 to model and analyze the potential of installing low-carbon hydrogen facilities across Ontario, including costs and sizing.

• Western University is receiving $498,000 to develop a demonstration site, which will test solar-generated hydrogen and biogas-generated hydrogen to assess the environmental benefits of each.

• Volta Energy in Toronto is receiving $491,352 to assess how reversible solid oxide hydrogen cell technology can help provide a pathway for hydrogen integration into the electricity grid.

• The Transition Accelerator in Hamilton is receiving $101,205 to research the economic readiness of the Hamilton region to become a hub for hydrogen investment.

Ontario established the Hydrogen Innovation Fund in February 2023 which will invest $15 million over the next three years to develop opportunities for hydrogen to be integrated into Ontario’s clean electricity system, including hydrogen electricity storage.