Friday, July 19, 2024

Ottawa investing in clean energy tech with focus on hydrogen and SMRs

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The federal government announced Wednesday it is injecting $11 million to support innovation in clean energy technologies such as hydrogen and small modular reactors (SMRs).

The Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson unveiled the funding in Calgary Wednesday morning.

The money will be divided between two key areas: clean hydrogen and enabling SMR technology.

A significant portion of the funding, $8.5 million, will be directed towards advancing Canada’s clean hydrogen sector.

This includes $5 million for three Alberta-based projects selected through the Energy Innovation Program’s (EIP) clean fuels and industrial fuel switching call for proposals. These projects aim to develop methods for low-emission hydrogen production from methane and carbon capture for clean fuels.

Those projects include:

  • $3 million to Aurora Hydrogen Inc.,to advance the use of microwave energy for pyrolysis technology to convert methane to hydrogen and solid carbon with minimal GHG emissions and no water use;

  • $1 million to Quantiam Technologies for the production of carbon-negative methanol and e-fuels from captured carbon dioxide and green hydrogen; and

  • $1 million to Innova Hydrogen Corp for zero-carbon hydrogen production via catalytic methane pyrolysis.

The remaining $3.5 million will support the Alberta Hydrogen Centre of Excellence, led by Alberta Innovates.

These projects focus on integrating hydrogen into residential heating and transportation applications.

These projects include:

  • $1,300,450 to ATCO Gas and Pipelines Ltd., in partnership with Qualico to develop an innovative hydrogen energy system for new homes in the community of Bremner;

  • $1,264,550 to Innovative Fuel Systems to reduce emissions from heavy duty vehicles by developing a hydrogen and diesel dual fuel retrofit system applicable to 90% of heavy-duty engines;

  • $508,935 to ATCO Gas and Pipelines Ltd. to develop the Fort Saskatchewan Operating Centre into the first commercial 100% hydrogen-heated building in Canada and as a demonstration site for end-user heating technologies that utilize pure and blended hydrogen with natural gas; and

  • $415,000 to New Wave Hydrogen Inc. to accelerate the time of methane thermal cracking for hydrogen production via shock wave heating technology in preparation for successive field pilots.

Investing in the future of nuclear energy

The government is also allocating $2.5 million to support research and development of SMRs. Wilkinson says the technology holds promise for providing clean and reliable baseload electricity.

Funding will be directed towards two universities: the University of Regina will study long-term waste disposal strategies for SMRs, while the University of Alberta will research advanced materials for SMR construction using additive manufacturing.

Wilkinson says the investment is a key element in the federal government’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 and developing a clean energy future for Canada.

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