Canada appears set for 20 MW power-to-gas facility in 2020

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Canada appears set to join the power-to-gas revolution, and may steal a march on projects elsewhere around the world, with plans revealed for a 20 MW electrolyzer to convert clean energy to hydrogen at an unspecified location in the country.

A press release issued by Canadian company Hydrogenics Corporation trumpeted the hydrogen generation, storage and power module manufacturer’s involvement in the project, with its services commissioned by French industrial gas and service company Air Liquide’s Canadian unit.

Although the exact location of the project was not specified, Ontario-based Hydrogenics said the hydrogen facility would be in operation next year.

The latest project announcement comes on the heels of feverish power-to-gas activity around the world as utilities scramble to find a method of greening the gas transported through their infrastructure networks.

Power-to-gas involves transforming renewable electricity into hydrogen using electrolysis and Hydrogenics stated, in yesterday’s press release, the Air Liquide project would make use of its “advanced large-scale PEM [proton exchange membrane] electrolysis technology, offering the smallest footprint and highest power density in the industry”.

The power-to-gas revolution

This month has already brought the news German energy transmission system operators Amprion and OGE will establish a 100 MW power-to-gas facility in Germany to ‘green’ hydrogen and methane. That project is due for completion by 2023 and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority this month began work on the MENA region’s first hydrogen facility, at the sprawling Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.

Announcing the Canadian project win, Hydrogenics president and CEO Daryl Wilson said: “We are very pleased to have been selected by Air Liquide for this large-scale deployment of our world-leading PEM electrolysis technology. With [more than] 500 active electrolyzers currently in operation globally, we continue to maintain a strong leadership position in the industry. Hydrogenics was the first-to-market with scalable PEM electrolysis and this order builds upon recent successes and milestones – including the commissioning, in 2018, of North America’s first megawatt-scale power-to-gas facility. We’re excited to support Air Liquide’s hydrogen needs in Canada, particularly in a renewable hydrogen application utilizing hydroelectric power.”

With fossil fuel giants such as BP insisting gas will continue to play a pivotal role in the world’s energy system for decades to come, the prospect of sector coupling between the electricity and gas industries – enabling renewable electricity to be transported through existing gas networks – makes power-to-gas electrolysis an attractive option for governments desperate to hit climate change targets.