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Powering the Energy Transition

Canada’s clean hydrogen gets set to power the world


Establishing a transformative, clean hydrogen economy represents a once in a generation opportunity for investors in low-cost, emissions-free energy

As the world looks to reach net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, clean hydrogen has the potential to accelerate innovation and transform energy generation as we know it by making green power available on an industrial scale.


Source: Clean Energy Canada

Hydrogen production in Canada

Canada is one of the top 10 producers of hydrogen globally
Canada is one of the top 10 producers of hydrogen globally
Canada is home to more than 100 hydrogen and fuel cell tech companies.

Canada stands at the forefront of global efforts to harness the power and the potential of low-carbon hydrogen and to develop a sustainable hydrogen economy. The climate commitments of its federal and provincial governments; widespread sources of financial support; and its world-renowned expertise in clean tech innovation and hydrogen-focused R&D are ensuring that Canada is positioned as a leading player in delivering on net zero opportunities.

Canada is home to more than 100 hydrogen and fuel cell tech companies.


The Government of Canada set out its commitment to develop a clean hydrogen economy in December 2020 when it released its Hydrogen Strategy for Canada. By 2050, the country intends to supply up to 30 per cent of its energy in the form of hydrogen and become one of the top three clean hydrogen producers globally.

Canada produces some 3mn tonnes of hydrogen

The result will be a domestic supply of more than 20mn tonnes of clean hydrogen a year and more than 5mn fuel cell electric vehicles on the road.

In 2021, Canada enshrined its commitment in the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, which established the 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target as the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement. It is committing to ambitious reductions of 40-45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, which is serving to accelerate innovation and change.


Vancouver-based Hydrogen Technology and Energy Corporation (HTEC) is focused on “providing the glue” for the nation’s clean hydrogen value chains by integrating the necessary skills, talent, technology and systems to ensure that zero-emission travel and transport become a reality.

In 2018, HTEC opened Canada’s first retail hydrogen fuelling station, launching a multi-outlet network – including two heavy-duty-capable stations – that could support the first fuel cell electric vehicles on British Columbia’s roads. This was followed, in 2021, by the opening of a clean hydrogen retail station and on-site electrolyser in Woodside, California, in the USA, and the unveiling of a network of stations in Quebec which will be supplied by local supply agreements. HTEC is also developing its own electrolysis production facilities ​​that will supply its network of fuelling stations while helping to decarbonise the local consumption of natural gas.


Clean hydrogen’s potential to improve the environmental sustainability of the freight and extractive industries comes from its role as an alternative to diesel. The heavy-duty freight sector, which includes long-distance trips and heavy payloads, is a target market for hydrogen. Freight operating conditions make plug-in electric battery options difficult, given their storage capacity constraints, recharge times and infrastructure requirements.

Canada produces some 3mn tonnes of hydrogen

Source: World Economic Forum

Heavy-duty trucking globally

... despite only representing 1% of total fleet vehicles 1% Heavy-duty trucks are responsible for 25% of global road emissions... 25%
Heavy-duty trucks are responsible for 25% of global road emissions... 25% ... despite only representing 1% of total fleet vehicles 1%

Vancouver’s Hydra Energy became the first company to deliver a hydrogen-converted, heavy-duty vehicle to a paying fleet customer, Lodgewood Enterprises, in October 2021. Describing itself as the world’s first Hydrogen-as-a-Service (HaaS™) provider, Hydra Energy sources low-carbon hydrogen at a fixed, below-the-cost-of-diesel discount from the Canadian industrial chemical provider Chemtrade. It provides this clean fuel to Hydra-retrofitted fleets, thus paving the way for a more immediate and affordable energy transition.


Clean hydrogen produced from renewable electricity can be used to help decarbonise residential and industrial heating and gas turbines. Currently, heating accounts for 80 per cent of energy used in domestic homes in Canada, and hydrogen can be blended with natural gas as a replacement to decrease emissions.

In January 2022, 3,600 residents in the city of Markham, Ontario, earned their place in history when their homes became the first in North America to benefit from blended gas. Crucially, hydrogen can also be stored in the existing gas distribution system for use at peak times, which helps increase the value of renewable electricity in decarbonisation pathways.

Hydrogen blending is also proceeding at pace in Alberta. In a first-of-its-kind project for the province, the ATCO Group is preparing to deliver a blend of natural gas containing five per cent hydrogen by volume into a subsection of the Fort Saskatchewan natural gas distribution system. Later this year, approximately 2,000 customers will be the first in the province to use hydrogen-blended natural gas that will reduce the GHG intensity of the associated natural gas stream.


Source: Government of Canada

Canada’s potential to abate carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) by 2050

190 Mt Potential greenhouse gas abatement Hydrogen made through Canada’s clean and abundant resources ... ... has the potential to abate up to 190 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) of greenhouse gas by 2050
Hydrogen made through Canada’s clean and abundant resources ... ... has the potential to abate up to 190 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) of greenhouse gas by 2050 190 Mt Potential greenhouse gas abatement


Canada’s use of hydrogen in the production of low-carbon ammonia has already begun to attract interest and investment from Europe and Asia, where so-called “blue ammonia” is being adopted as a marine fuel and alternative feedstock for thermal power generation. This is especially the case in Japan, where the government is looking to secure 30mn tonnes of ammonia by 2050 as part of its efforts to achieve net zero emissions.

Quebec’s Project Courant is one of the first companies focused on shipping low-carbon ammonia to Europe. Developed by Montreal’s Hy2Gen Canada Inc, the 500 tonne a day, 200MW hydro-powered green ammonia production facility will become the first of the company’s carbon-free production platforms in North America when it becomes fully operational in 2026.

Hy2gen’s interest in establishing Canadian operations is mirrored by Japanese general trading house Itochu Corporation, which has partnered with Petronas Energy Canada to investigate the feasibility of building a US$1.3bn low-carbon ammonia production facility on the outskirts of Edmonton. Itochu plans to supply Japan’s energy, metal and petrochemical producers with Canadian-produced ammonia from the 1mn-tonne-a-year plant, whose construction is set to begin in 2023.

A recent assessment of the scale and scope of Canada’s clean hydrogen potential described a situation in which the country is well positioned to become a leader in the field.

“It’s time for leaders across public and private sectors to assess the size of the opportunity and how their respective organisations can help enable the hydrogen future,” Lance Mortlock, EY Canada’s energy leader, writes. “Canada has an immediate opportunity to integrate existing energy infrastructure into the evolving hydrogen value chain to become a global leader in hydrogen production, distribution and market use.”

The time is now to invest in hydrogen in Canada.

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