‘Hydrogen highway’ | Air Products plans network of permanent H2 refuelling stations in Canada

Industrial gases giant Air Products has announced plans to build a “network of permanent, commercial-scale multi-modal hydrogen refuelling stations” for heavy-duty trucks in the Canadian province of Alberta, stretching 300km between the cities of Edmonton and the province’s oil & gas capital, Calgary.

The announcement comes as Alberta promised C$57m (US$42m) in funding for 28 different hydrogen initiatives in the province, including C$7m to help Linde Canada install H2 production, distribution and refuelling infrastructure in Edmonton and fellow Albertan city Fort Saskatchewan.

Air Products gave very few details about the proposed network, noting only that the first permanent refuelling station in Edmonton, currently served by a mobile unit, is now under construction with a view to coming on stream in 2025.

Its so-called “hydrogen highway” will stretch along the Queen Elizabeth II Highway that runs between Calgary and Edmonton, aiming to serve 5,000 H2 or dual-fuel vehicles within five years.

Fuelling stations will serve both heavy duty vehicles and light-duty fuel-cell cars, Air Products said, promising a refuelling “experience and speed” similar to petrol or diesel.

However, it is not clear how much the network will cost to build, the number of filling stations it will have, or whether Air Products will receive any federal or provincial subsidies to help fund it.

The company had not responded to questions from Hydrogen Insight at the time of publication.

Alberta’s C$57m funding announcement identified seven projects — accounting for C$31.7m of the total — but Air Products was not among those named.

Linde’s plan to install a hydrogen refuelling station in Edmonton for the local transit authority Edmonton Transit Services (ETS) comes after a tender to build and operate an H2 refuelling station for ETS was pulled last year, with officials citing “uncertain demand” for hydrogen as the reason for the cancellation.

Alberta also on Tuesday announced C$7m in funding to Calgary-based NuVista Energy to build a turquoise hydrogen demonstrator, in which fossil gas is heated in the absence of air to produce hydrogen and solid carbon.

The City of Edmonton was also granted C$6.9m to demonstrated a methanol-to-hydrogen fuelling system, while Strathcona County was granted $5m to install a hydrogen-fuelled combined heat and power system at a local leisure centre.

Edmonton International Airport will also be given C$1.7m to test hydrogen’s suitability for aviation, and C$1.9m was granted to the Pipeline Research Council to test materials for retrofitting existing natural gas pipelines for hydrogen.

The City of Calgary will also be carrying out a hydrogen vehicles pilot programme with $2.2m from the scheme.

“Alberta is pursuing a hydrogen economy and new hydrogen technologies that will lead Canada into the future,” said Brian Jean, Alberta’s minister of energy and minerals. “In time, we’ll deliver this clean energy to allies and trading partners that are looking to lower emissions.”


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