Edmonton skyline at dusk.

Edmonton could dominate “Fuel of the Future” market with clean energy supply

Published On
June 8, 2021

Existing infrastructure and programs offer excellent opportunities to support a hydrogen economy in Canada.

Alberta is currently Canada’s leading producer of ammonia, a “fuel of the future” that is a stable, easy-to-transport carbon-free fuel, with applications as a medium to carry hydrogen. Alberta’s existing natural gas infrastructure can easily be adapted to expand the ammonia industry. From there, it can then be easily and safely exported to the rest of the world through ease of access to Canada’s coastal ports and existing trade agreements, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

New Market Potential

A lot of work is being done within the region and beyond, including support from both the provincial and federal governments to support the development of a hydrogen economy. In April 2021, the Edmonton Region Hydrogen Hub was formed to help bring the hydrogen economy to Edmonton, and the Hydrogen Canada Corps is already on track to meet clean energy demands. There are also several regional incentives and programs for ammonia project development including:

  • Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program
  • Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (Alberta)
  • Clean Fuels Fund (Canada)
  • SIF Net-Zero Accelerator (Canada)
  • Federal and provincial tax credits and incentive programs, including the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit

What’s Important About Ammonia?

Ammonia is being recognized as a “fuel of the future” because of its cleanliness and stable properties. The carbon-free fuel can cheaply and reliably transport hydrogen through a hydrogenation process. Ammonia has also been proven to have excellent decarbonizing properties that can help clean carbon emissions from rail, road, and air transportation.

Benefits of Ammonia

Compared to fossil fuels and hydrogen, ammonia is cheaper and much easier to store and transport. For example, liquid ammonia needs to be kept at -33C, whereas hydrogen needs to be cryogenically frozen at -253C to remain liquified.

Clean energy options like hydrogen and hydroelectricity keep the cost of electricity significantly lower for consumers. This has been demonstrated in provinces like Manitoba, Yukon, and British Columbia, who all rely on clean energy for a majority of electricity. Ammonia can lower transportation and storage costs too, making the fuel cheaper for both energy producers and consumers.

To learn more about economic and environmental benefits of hydrogen, check out this article from Invest in Canada.