Ontario launches hydrogen innovation fund to build clean electricity grid

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Niagara Hydrogen Centre
Rendering of Atura Power's Niagara Hydrogen Centre

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government is establishing a hydrogen innovation fund with $15 million over the next three years to integrate hydrogen into Ontario’s clean electricity system, including hydrogen electricity storage. The announcement is being called a milestone in the province’s low-carbon hydrogen strategy.

“When energy is reliable, affordable and clean our whole province wins,” said Todd Smith, minister of energy. “The hydrogen innovation und will help to lay the groundwork for hydrogen to contribute to our diverse energy supply, supporting game-changing investments in electric vehicle production, green steelmaking and clean manufacturing that will create good paying jobs, grow our economy and reduce emissions.”

Projects would support electricity supply, capacity, storage and demand management, and support growth in Ontario’s hydrogen economy. The Fund will support projects across three streams:

  • Existing facilities ready to evaluate how hydrogen can support Ontario’s clean grid.
  • New hydrogen facilities not yet constructed but could be in-service by a specified date to demonstrate how hydrogen can support Ontario’s clean grid.
  • Research studies investigating the feasibility of novel applications of hydrogen or support future hydrogen project decision making.

Applications for the fund will open in April 2023. Natural Resources Canada modelling shows that hydrogen could make up about 30 per cent of the country’s fuels and feedstock by 2050 and create 100,000 jobs in Ontario.

The province is also supporting work to develop the Niagara Hydrogen Centre, led by Atura Power, which would increase the amount of low-carbon hydrogen produced in Ontario by eight-fold and help balance the electricity grid while using previously unutilized water at the Sir Adam Beck generating station to produce electricity for a hydrogen electrolyzer.

Hydrogen is a versatile fuel that can be used for vehicles, industrial processes and like renewable natural gas can be integrated into the existing natural gas system while emitting little to no greenhouse gases or other pollution.

In October 2022, Atura Power selected Cummins Inc. to design and manufacture a 20-megawatt (MW) electrolyzer for the project at Cummins’ Mississauga facility.

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