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World Hydrogen and Edmonton Global

Published On
April 22, 2022

Ahead of its North America Conference on April 5th – 7th, Edmonton Global’s Director for Hydrogen, Brent Lakeman, spoke with World Hydrogen North America about Edmonton Global’s active role in promoting the Edmonton region as a first mover in the global hydrogen economy. The World Hydrogen North America Conference aims to highlight the increasing scale of clean hydrogen projects to decarbonize economies and achieve emission reduction targets.

See excerpts from the conversation.

What’s your executive summary of what’s happening in World Hydrogen, particularly with Edmonton’s role and the role of hydrogen hubs? 

There are lots of exciting things going on in the Edmonton region. We have unveiled Canada’s first Hydrogen Hub alongside innovative hydrogen technologies. The region has been one of the most prominent players in the hydrogen economy in Canada for quite some time, with several world-leading initiatives. Beginning with our capacity to manufacture huge volumes of low-carbon, low-cost hydrogen projects. Like Shell Quest from a few years back, which demonstrated our capacity to absorb and store CO2 linked with hydrogen generation.

That is only the starting point. We now have a Hydrogen Hub that is trying to expand the demand for hydrogen across various sectors, with a number of pilot projects underway and ongoing engagements with industry and other groups, including research and innovation. So it’s really about how we can spread the word about this being a transformative opportunity for the Edmonton region and how we can collaborate with other hubs around the world and investors looking to invest in the hydrogen economy.

Canada is on the cutting edge of hydrogen innovation, with firms that have been in the industry for a long time. Looking to the future, the World Hydrogen North America Conference, held in Houston on the 5th and 7th of April, will be an excellent platform for us to get our message out there and learn from others.

What are some of the recent activities from a federal or national level you’ve seen that have shown support for the hydrogen economy? 

During the last few years, national policies, such as the Canadian hydrogen strategy, have been developed. The Alberta Government recently announced a hydrogen roadmap a little more than a year ago.

Much of this stems from the work in our area that began with our leaders in the Edmonton region demonstrating what’s possible here. That communication has been received. We’ve had a good starting point of being able to produce hydrogen. Now it’s about creating the use and working along the whole value chain of the hydrogen economy. We have a couple of pilot projects starting this year, like the trucking pilot project and the transition to hydrogen buses pilot with new hydrogen buses in the region.

How is Edmonton Global using the support you’ve received so far? 

It is now necessary to make use of and work along the entire value chain of the hydrogen economy. We’ve got word that the message has been well received by the province of Alberta, together with the federal government. We’re anticipating some information on the government budget, which is expected to be released soon.

This might help to incentivize further the hydrogen economy to develop demand. This year will see the start of a trucking pilot project. We have a couple of hydrogen buses in our region that we are testing, and that is only the beginning.

Is developing a hydrogen-powered truck that can handle Canada’s cold climate a focal point?

Its definitely a focus of the hydrogen hub, and it’s building on those pilots and moving quickly to scale up demand across the transportation sector, such as Class 8 trucks, whether it’s hydrogen fuel-cell trucks or dual-fuel opportunities to convert diesel trucks and allow them also to use hydrogen, reducing costs and accelerating the transition. It is opening up massive demand for hydrogen and improving overall economics.

Are there other ways you can ensure other regions of Canada have similar growth opportunities? 

Long-haul trucking is popular across the country, but other industries can take advantage of the hydrogen economy in other regions. The marine industry, for example, in British Columbia or Atlantic Canada, manufacturing industries across central Canada, and Alberta. There are opportunities across the board, whether in Alberta or Ontario, Quebec or British Columbia. There is fantastic potential to keep the economy growing.

Being involved in public policy, what are some of the key lessons you think have been taken on board by policymakers around the world.

By being active in public policy and driving innovation and regional development, we will make the energy transition happen in a way that is appropriate for each region. We are confident this movement is genuine and will be seeing gaining purchase, all the way to the top of the political sphere and right down to action-oriented programs and pilot projects.

What key message about the hydrogen economy you have seen that is gaining momentum? 

The message is about scalability and being able to grow fast, as seen all across the world. This is where we believe Edmonton Global has an edge, certainly in terms of production. Given our experience, resource base, natural resources, and so on, we’ve demonstrated that we can manufacture significant volumes of low-carbon, low-cost hydrogen.

Part of that message is that there will always be more innovation. We already have a lot of innovative companies in play; how can we move them a little faster? Stack them throughout the value chain, or just scale up–whether it’s next-generation production technologies or, more crucially, the real-world use of hydrogen.

We don’t realize how long we’ve had fuel cell knowledge in Canada. We have those firms; let’s genuinely help them succeed in the future hydrogen economy. So, rather than the quest for new technology, it’s about scaling up.


We’re excited about the Edmonton Hydrogen Economy. Working with and paying close attention to driving the entire global hydrogen economy. We’ve had gatherings in the United Arab Emirates in the last couple of weeks with a massive groundswell of announcements, real deals, and real driving. As a result, everything is in order. We see the massive movement, increasing momentum, and possibilities right across the board for business and technology players. We believe it’s going to be an interesting time in this sector over the coming years.

We are dedicated to supporting innovation, economic development, and investment in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region at Edmonton Global. Reach out at any time, and we will help you find the right opportunities for your business.