With its abundant natural gas for conversion into hydrogen fuel, Canada could be a major player in the burgeoning hydrogen market, says law firm Fasken, which has recently launched a new hydrogen energy advisory team.
Canada’s federal government is expected to soon unveil a national plan to ramp up hydrogen-energy production through its Natural Resources Canada. The shift will affect a broad range of sectors, including transportation, heavy industry, power generation, mining, construction, data storage and health care.
“Canada and the world are moving inexorably toward a carbon-neutral future. And there is no pathway to net zero that does not include hydrogen energy and fuel-cell technologies at its core,” says government adviser Daniel Brock, who is co-leading Fasken’s H2EAT initiative.
He adds that Canada has all the advantages for producing clean hydrogen energy. “[The country] will be a big supplier and producer. The US a prime market and Canada the number-one exporter.”
Hydrogen suppliers in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia are expected to be prime sources, Brock says, noting that power companies will need to remake rate policies and rules around hydrogen usage.
“Conventional energy producers, transportation companies, and power suppliers are making substantial investments in hydrogen to promote reductions in greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, and the entrepreneurial economy is capitalising on a host of new technologies deploying hydrogen conversion,” says Fasken partner Janet Howard.
The US and Canadian governments will also add major stimulus packages to advance green energy programmes. “Companies deploying and using hydrogen fuel will be well advantaged and supported by these packages.”
There is increasing interest in the use of hydrogen and fuel cells to decarbonise energy use across economies around the world.
With 185 countries, including Canada, being signatories to the Paris Agreement, there is now a global focus on reducing GHG emissions, while working to achieve clean growth and long-term economic benefits. Hydrogen and fuel cells can reduce the environmental impact of economy-wide energy use, while supporting job creation and economic prosperity using innovative, clean technologies.