Canada needs to build pipelines for oil and gas — but for hydrogen, too, clean energy advocates say

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Canada needs to build pipelines for oil and gas — but for hydrogen, too, clean energy advocates say
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Because the federal authorities places the ending touches on a nationwide hydrogen technique designed to kickstart the budding sector, some consultants say one of many very important substances for the business to flourish is to construct extra pipelines.

Whereas pipelines are sometimes related to transferring oil and pure gasoline, they’re equally essential for the growing cleaner sources of gas like hydrogen, in response to Maggie Hanna, a fellow on the Power Futures Lab.

After a 30-year profession within the oilpatch as a geologist, Hanna’s focus is now on expertise and innovation.

As a substitute of oil and pure gasoline, she believes hydrogen, hydro, nuclear, photo voltaic and wind would be the dominant vitality sources just a few many years from now because the nation strikes towards reducing its emissions.

Nonetheless, for that clear vitality transition to occur, the nation might want to put extra pipes within the floor.

“We bought to recover from this friggin’ pipeline factor,” stated Hanna, with a smile as she shook her head. “It’s the No. 1 most secure method to transfer any fluid.”

Not solely does the nation nonetheless rely closely on pipelines to maneuver oil and pure gasoline, however many different sources of vitality may additionally rely on pipelines.

Hanna is an enormous supporter of using hydrogen for heating buildings, powering trains and long-haul vans, and for industrial sectors like manufacturing, amongst different makes use of.

WATCH | A clear vitality transition does require extra pipelines:

Whereas pipelines are sometimes related to transferring oil and pure gasoline, they’re equally essential for the growing cleaner sources of gas like hydrogen, in response to Maggie Hanna, a fellow on the Power Futures Lab. 1:37

Hydrogen has the potential to be a serious vitality supply sooner or later and assist the nation decrease its emissions sooner or later. That is why the federal authorities is about to launch a nationwide hydrogen technique earlier than the top of the 12 months, which is anticipated to incorporate monetary incentives and different measures to gas the sector’s development.

Pipelines could be wanted to maneuver hydrogen throughout the nation and for export, stated Hanna.

“In liquid types and gaseous types, blended in with methane,” she stated, amongst different examples. There would even be a necessity to maneuver carbon dioxide emissions to be sequestered underground or utilized in industrial sectors.

Pipeline backlash

Over the past 20 years, oil and pure gasoline pipelines have garnered far more consideration throughout North America and have attracted a big quantity of criticism due to concern in regards to the affect that increasing the fossil gas business can have on local weather change.

Federal Pure Sources Minister Seamus O’Regan stated the dialogue should not give attention to vilifying one business, however as a substitute be centred round how the nation can decrease its emissions sooner or later.

“I feel we’re all going to get much more refined about this. I imply pipelines have grow to be a lightning rod,” he stated. “Pipelines aren’t the difficulty, emissions are the difficulty.”

Whether or not the nation will want extra pipelines sooner or later to maneuver supplies like hydrogen, O’Regan stated it is an essential query “as a result of all of that may require vital funding.”

Crew Canada 

To get extra pipes within the floor sooner or later, some argue a so-called ‘Crew Canada’ method is critical. 

Whereas Alberta and Quebec have sparred typically in recent times over oil and gasoline pipeline improvement, each are supporters of rising the hydrogen business.

Some hydrogen proponents say there may be robust assist for the sector from coast-to-coast.

“It is the one vitality resolution that is not divisive throughout Canada,” stated Stephen Beatty, a vice-president with Toyota Canada, which is a part of a Quebec hydrogen coalition, which fashioned earlier this 12 months.

Hydrogen is environmentally-friendly and never a pollutant, he stated, like different supplies that transfer by pipeline.

“I feel in case you have a look at the historical past of vitality politics during the last 12 months or two, you’ve got seen pipeline debates, you’ve got seen a number of different issues occurring. The fact is that each main a part of the nation has a possible to be a participant in hydrogen,” he stated, in a cellphone interview from a dealership in Ajax, Ontario.

Protesters collect in opposition to the growth of the Trans Mountain pipeline mission in June, 2019. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Canada is already one of many bigger hydrogen producers on the earth right now, producing roughly three million tonnes a 12 months utilizing steam methane reformation (SMR) of pure gasoline, a course of that is drawn scrutiny for its carbon emissions.

Environmentalists say the local weather good thing about hydrogen is extremely depending on how it’s made. 

Authorities officers and analysts imagine Canada has what it takes to develop low or zero-carbon hydrogen via quite a lot of instruments, together with renewable vitality or, within the case of pure gasoline, using carbon-capture expertise, like that in Alberta

In the meantime, provinces like B.C., Manitoba, Quebec and Newfoundland have vital hydroelectric assets and Ontario has nuclear vitality, which can be utilized in off-peak instances to supply hydrogen from water via a course of referred to as electrolysis.

Pipeline issues doable

Alberta authorities officers say the province may very well be a world chief in hydrogen manufacturing. That is why it’s so essential for governments throughout the nation to work hand-in-hand.

“It gives investor confidence that they will come and arrange store in Alberta. They don’t seem to be going to have to fret about preventing with different ranges of presidency as effectively,” stated Dale Nally, Alberta’s affiliate minister of pure gasoline

“We have seen what can occur in different areas the place we’re not aligned, whether or not it is constructing pipelines or fossil fuels and even pure gasoline,” he stated.

WATCH | Would there be opposition to a brand new pipeline if it carried hydrogen?:

There must be a ‘Crew Canada’ method to develop the sector, says Dale Nally, Alberta’s affiliate minister of pure gasoline. 2:40

These experiences are why he’s satisfied there nonetheless could be opposition to extra pipeline development, particularly amongst activists, even for transferring supplies like hydrogen.

“I’ve little doubt that the identical challenges that we see with oil and gasoline may also be there for hydrogen. The distinction is our eyes are open now and we’re going into this with our eyes broad open,” he stated.

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