Saskatchewan government boosting development on potential hydrogen hub

Saskatchewan has proclaimed June 27 as HIV testing day to increase tests and break the stigma around HIV. File / Global News

The government of Saskatchewan has announced it will push development work on a potential hydrogen hub in the Regina-Moose Jaw area.

On Monday, the government said that it will provide investors with a “thorough analysis” of commercial-scale hydrogen opportunities and synergies with carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) infrastructure in the province.

Ministry of Energy and Resources officials are working with Whitecap Resources and Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) on this front, while the Transition Accelerator and the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) will develop a foundation report study.

A grant of $100,000 will be given by the government to support the Transition Accelerator’s foundation report. An additional $50,000 in funding will be provided by Whitecap Resources and FCL.

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The government says the Transition Accelerator is a pan-Canadian charity that “creates positive, transformational system changes that solve societal challenges while moving Canada to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

The Transition Accelerator launched Canada’s first two hydrogen hubs in the Edmonton area and in southeast Alberta.

“We’re a world leader in CCUS and enhanced oil recovery, which have natural connections to blue hydrogen,” said Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre in a news release on Monday.

“We expect this report to accelerate the private sector’s interest in Saskatchewan’s emerging hydrogen economy.”

This comes after the government announced several new policy commitments to advance CCUS projects in September of last year. This includes advancing opportunities for an infrastructure hub located in the Regina-Moose Jaw industrial corridor.

In October 2021, FCL and Whitecap Resources inked a memorandum of understanding to explore opportunities around CCUS, enhanced oil recovery and carbon dioxide transportation infrastructure.

“The potential for a hydrogen and CCUS hub in Saskatchewan is exciting as it would create new opportunities for local industry right here in Saskatchewan,” said Heather Ryan, chief executive of Federated Co-operatives Ltd.

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“We know that CCUS will play a prominent role in the future of transportation fuels. The research we are investing in will identify the role that hydrogen production will play in the transition to the low carbon economy. We are excited and proud to partner with the government of Saskatchewan and Whitecap Resources on this important research project.”

The province said the hydrogen market is expanding globally as power generation, transportation fuel and feedstock use increases in the chemical industry.

Officials said a hydrogen or CCUS hub would allow for the development of Saskatchewan’s own commercial-scale hydrogen supply and demand chain.

“Saskatchewan has played a prominent role in establishing CCUS as an industry and we expect it will leverage this expertise to take a leadership role in the new hydrogen economy,” said Grant Fagerheim, chief executive of Whitecap Resources, in Monday’s release.

“Whitecap and FCL have the opportunity to accelerate the transition to a lower-carbon economy through our proposed CCUS infrastructure, which will enable blue hydrogen production at a commercial scale. We are excited to advance this study to support further expansion across the private sector.”

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