Study explores BC’s renewable hydrogen energy potential

renewable hydrogen
A key advantage of hydrogen is that the energy loss in times of excess supply is minimised through the storing of the excess energy otherwise left unused. Hydrogen also shows more potential compared to a storage battery since the fuel cell is built out of hardly any rare metals that cause competition among countries and runs for a longer life span.

BC has one of cleanest power grids in world in terms of carbon emissions

A new study will enable United Kingdom-based ITM Power to examine the potential for large-scale production of renewable hydrogen in British Columbia, according to a press release.

The study, which begins this spring, will look at the feasibility of hydrogen production and export for energy use in Japan, California and domestically in British Columbia. If the study results are positive, ITM Power will consider building a pilot plant in B.C.

The Government of British Columbia is providing $230,000 to support the study, with an additional $60,000 of in-kind support from BC Hydro, to research potential plant locations, related transmission upgrade requirements and interconnection costs.

“This technology has the potential to make British Columbia a major player in the worldwide hydrogen economy. This project is a clear indicator that, as we move toward a strong, sustainable energy future, B.C.’s renewable and innovative clean energy resources make us an attractive destination for global investment,” said Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Michelle Mungall.

Two Japanese companies, Chiyoda Corporation and Mitsui & Co. Ltd., will work with ITM Power on this project, along with B.C.-based G&S Budd Consulting Ltd.

“ITM Power’s technology is available today at the multi-MW level for utility customers. We are excited to be working with British Columbia, and our other world-leading partners, to investigate the huge potential of large-scale renewable hydrogen production,” said Steve Jones, managing director of ITM Power.

B.C. is recognized as a global leader in hydrogen and fuel-cell research and development. With demand for renewable clean-energy sources growing worldwide, the province has great potential for the development of a hydrogen economy.

Hydrogen energy can be used to power passenger vehicles, buses, trucks, trains/trams, ships and planes, as well as for stationary and back-up power, and material handling.

“Clean tech has the power to modernize our natural resources sector, create good jobs and diversify our economy. Renewable hydrogen production has the potential to reduce climate-change impacts through the use of renewable energy and attract new investment to B.C.,” said Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston.

Quick Facts:

  • Hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier. Because it can store renewable energy and does not release any CO2 at the point of use, hydrogen can play an important role in the transition to a clean, low-carbon energy future.
  • An electrolyser uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. This hydrogen can be used for a variety of purposes, such as powering a fuel-cell electric vehicle, for energy storage or chemical feedstocks. Using renewable electricity to feed the electrolyser makes this a true zero-emission process.
  • As countries around the world move from conventional energy sources to renewable ones, there is an increasing demand for hydrogen to fuel low-carbon energy needs.
  • Japan is a leader in pursuing hydrogen and fuel-cell technologies, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying (in April 2017), “Japan will be the first in the world to realize a hydrogen-based society.”
  • B.C. has one of the cleanest power grids in the world, in terms of carbon emissions, and has competitive electricity rates. This makes B.C. an ideal location for renewable hydrogen energy production.

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