Hydrogen: a local and renewable source of energy - Gazifère

Hydrogen: a local and renewable source of energy

Introduction

Installation of a hydrogen line

A new hydrogen pipeline will soon be appearing in Gatineau to make this locally produced renewable energy accessible in our region. The idea behind this project is to pursue efforts to reduce fossil energy and greenhouse gas emissions by capturing industrial waste and transforming it into a source of energy. By developing this project, Gazifère aims to expand its system to new energy sources that have so far not been exploited in the Outaouais.

The circuit

A period of public participation took place to determine the exact route that the pipeline will follow between the production point in Buckingham and the points of use. It took place over two sessions (in the municipalities of Masson-Angers and Ange-Gardien) and online until March 2024.

Different circuits were presented during these sessions for discussion.

The purpose of the public participation is to discuss the hydrogen pipeline project, to collect feedback, and to answer questions from residents and local stakeholders in order to arrive at the most suitable solution.

The final circuit will take into account technical, environmental and socio-economic constraints.

The local parties involved in the project

This project is made possible by the involvement of committed parties throughout the territory. In carrying out this energy project, Gazifère is working closely with the industries that currently produce hydrogen and release it into the atmosphere. The goal of this project is to capture that industrial waste, and transform it into energy.

Project Safety

Pipe Design and Safety

Our pipes are designed to meet or exceed the regulations of the Canadian Standards Association (Z662 Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems) and other applicable regulations.

 

Security and integrity

We are taking many steps to ensure the safe and reliable operation of our network, including:

  • Design, build and test our pipes to meet or exceed the requirements set by industry standards and regulatory authorities.
  • Continuously monitor the entire network.
  • Conduct regular field surveys to detect leaks and confirm that corrosion prevention methods are working as intended.

For more information on hydrogen safety, go to the project FAQ:

Project timeline

  1. Underway – Environmental and pre-engineering studies
  2. Underway – Project planning, including public participation and applicable approvals (2024-2025)
  3. Upcoming – Construction (spring 2025)
  4. Upcoming – Start up (2026)

Information about the project

Project update

The definition of the final circuit is currently underway.

Public participation

Two participations took place – in person – on February 26 and 29. Public participation continued online on the website until March 27, 2024.

We would like to thank the people who have expressed their views on the project.

Regulatory information

Hydrogen pipelines are not regulated by the Régie de l’énergie. Although the project does not meet the criteria of the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs (MELCCFP) for a BAPE, an environmental study and public participation will nonetheless take place prior to construction.

Contact

Do you have any questions? Call us at 514-207-1003 or write to us at: h2@gazifere.com

FAQ

Will hydrogen smell like gas?

Like natural gas, hydrogen is odourless. Mercaptan is an odorant used to give natural gas its distinctive odour for ease of detection in businesses and homes where it is used. In the case of hydrogen, a study is currently underway to determine what measures will be used for optimal prevention and detection of leaks.

What measures will be applied in the event of a leak?

As with natural gas, Gazifère will have a 24/7 emergency service that will be able to respond to any type of emergency and work in partnership with the municipal fire department on prevention and training. In the event of a leak, Gazifère will respond promptly to restore safety as quickly as possible.

Is there a risk to homes near the pipeline?

The risk of incidents from hydrogen pipelines is no greater than from natural gas pipelines of similar diameter and pressure.

When will hydrogen be available to industrial customers?

We expect the hydrogen pipeline to become operational in 2026. Industrial customers interested in learning more can contact us now to start the connection process.

When will hydrogen be available to residential customers?

We expect the hydrogen pipeline to become operational in 2026. Gazifère does not have any residential solutions for hydrogen at this time but may have some in the future.

How will hydrogen be billed, compared to gas?

Customers directly connected to the hydrogen system will be billed monthly, as with natural gas.

What studies have been done to protect the environment?

Environmental studies have been done to limit the project’s impact on the environment. They are based on available existing data (Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec, Centre d’expertise hydrique du Québec, Géobase du réseau hydrographique du Québec, Ducks Unlimited Canada, MELCCFP, MRC Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais, Ville de Gatineau, and Municipalité de l’Ange-Gardien). Inventories have also been drawn up (waterways and fish habitats, vegetation and wetlands, species of conservation concern (wildlife and vegetation), and invasive exotic species).

Has the project been submitted to the Régie de l'Énergie?

Hydrogen installations are not currently regulated by the Régie de l’Énergie.

What environmental commitments has Gazifère made in connection with this project?

Gazifère is committed to environmental stewardship, and always conducts itself responsibility in regard to the environment. Gazifère is committed to protecting the environment, and recognizes that preventing pollution, protecting biodiversity and conserving resources are key factors in a sustainable environment. Every employee is considered responsible, and must contribute to a safe work environment. They must promote safe occupational attitudes and conduct themselves responsibly in regard to the environment.

Has the railway corridor along Maloney been considered?

Several corridors have been considered in terms of environmental, social and technical feasibility. The ones proposed during the public participation period are the ones that we deemed the most viable.

How are the studies funded?

This project is funded by Gazifère, with financial support from Natural Resources Canada.

How is the construction work funded?

This project is funded by Gazifère.

What is the total investment in this project?

The total investment in this project comes to approximately $250M from Gazifère and its partners.

What is hydrogen? And why do we talk about “clean” hydrogen?

Hydrogen is one of the most abundant elements in the universe, and is found in water (H2O), which is why one of its sources of production is electrolysis (Evolugen & Gazifère Inc. are working together on this projects). By running electricity through water, the hydrogen can be separated from the oxygen to create gaseous hydrogen (H2), which is a very light, odourless and colourless gas. The hydrogen can then be transported through pipelines or by truck for use in industrial processes as a fuel or fuel cells, or mixed into the natural gas system.

Because it is produced through electrolysis, its combustion emits only water vapour, which is why hydrogen can be rated as “clean”.

What does it mean when we call hydrogen an “energy vector”?

Hydrogen is considered an energy vector because, once processed, it can be stored, transported and used.

Is hydrogen safe?

As with any fuel, appropriate safety procedures are required. As with natural gas, Gazifère is committed to providing energy reliably and safely, and to having in place work practices that ensure the public’s and workers’ safety.
In its normal state, hydrogen is gaseous, colourless, odourless and non toxic. The hydrogen molecule is so light that it immediately disperses into the atmosphere.

This is why, in the event of an accidental leak, gaseous hydrogen vaporizes so fast that there is no risk of fire. There are no puddles on the ground, and no contamination of groundwater.

Water is the only result of hydrogen combustion. When it is released into the air, all that remains is pure water.

What does the hydrogen project involve?

This is the initial phase of a long-term global project that involves establishing a regional energy ecosystem in the Outaouais.

This initial phase is focused on the production, distribution and consumption of clean hydrogen.

The project involves capturing gaseous hydrogen as a sub-product at the Erco plant in Gatineau, and distributing it through a pipeline extending over some 20 kilometres that will be built between the Buckingham and airport sectors.

Whom does this project concern?

The purpose of this project is to supply hydrogen to refuelling stations, the heavy transport sector, and customers outside the region.

What impact will the project have on GHG?

Depending on its use, this project would make it possible to prevent the release of approximately 15,000 tonnes of GHG annually, and would generate significant economic and local benefits, including new jobs and incremental property tax revenues.

How is the hydrogen supplied?

The green hydrogen that is the focus of our project is produced locally, here in the Outaouais, from water and clean electricity. Gazifère will buy that hydrogen from producers, and could deliver it to industrial or commercial customers, as well as to the natural gas system. Once injected into that natural gas system, the hydrogen would blend with the traditional natural gas in the distribution system, and power the appliances connected to the system the same way as traditional natural gas. This would directly reduce those appliances’ emissions, as well as those of customers.

Who is the hydrogen project directed at?

Once the construction work has been completed and the service can start up, that hydrogen will initially supply industries and the heavy transport sector.

What are the benefits of hydrogen for the planet?

  • Sustainable energy that helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Replacement of a fossil fuel by a renewable energy

What are the benefits for consumers?

  • Clean and ecological: hydrogen enables customers to reduce their carbon footprint and to take action.
  • No change in equipment required! This energy source is simple, and is transported and used the same way as natural gas, the difference being that it is green!
  • Less carbon dioxide emissions

All of the safety measures applied for natural gas continue to be applied.

Is hydrogen production considered carbon neutral?

Green hydrogen is produced through renewable electricity and water, and replaces the use of carbon-based energy in sectors that are sometimes difficult to electrify, such as heavy transport and industry. Thus, its use helps reduce carbon emissions from traditional fossil energies, and thereby help decarbonize the territory.

Why does Gazifère want to blend in hydrogen?

Gazifère is a progressive company that is always looking for ways to reduce its carbon footprint and to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. By assessing the option of blending in hydrogen, Gazifère is positioning itself as a leader in innovative technologies, and seeking to live up to its commitment to protect the environment.

Has the hydrogen already been blended in?

Yes, since 2019, Enbridge has been operating a natural gas system with 2% hydrogen. Many other gas distributors in Canada and elsewhere are also currently considering this option.

How did you determine where the pipeline should go? What environmental considerations were taken into account?

We expect to build the pipeline along the existing right of way next to the road, so we do not anticipate any significant environmental disruptions. The environmental assessment (currently underway) will yield additional information for protecting the environment.

What requirements are set by the ministère de l’Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs (MELCCFP) regarding such a project?

The distribution of hydrogen through pipelines is not subject to MELCCFP requirements.

Are there other projects of this type elsewhere in the world?

There are hydrogen pipelines in Canada and the United States. In Quebec, there are facilities that produce or use hydrogen. What is new about this project is the distribution aspect, which will enable customers to connect directly to the system, as is the case with natural gas.

What is the maximum amount of hydrogen that can be injected into the system without jeopardizing the safety of users ?

The CSA Group has determined that 5% hydrogen in natural gas has no impact on the performance of natural gas appliances. Studies are underway to determine the impact of a higher ratio. At no point has the CSA Group indicated that this limit was related to users’ safety.

What do the different colour designations for hydrogen represent?

The different colours attributed to hydrogen refer to the ways it is produced.

  • Green hydrogen is produced through electrolysis, using electricity from renewable sources (hydro or wind).
  • Blue hydrogen is produced through the gasification of natural gas or coal, including a device for capturing and storing CO2.
  • Gray hydrogen is produced by separating the hydrogen and carbon atoms in natural gas using water vapour or heat.

What is the reason for the delays in undertaking the work?

There are supply chain delays, and our partners are currently completing the engineering study stages to confirm the amount of hydrogen that can be injected into the distribution system. The supply has to be secured.

Does Gazifère receive government subsidies for hydrogen development? If so, how much?

In its February 2021 announcement, the federal government confirmed a $1.5 billion investment into a fund for low-carbon content and zero emission fuels.

On February 1, 2024, the federal government announced more than $3.3 million towards a $7.3 million clean fuel project for a feasibility study on blending hydrogen, more specifically to assess the development of an electrolysis facility to decarbonize Gazifère’s natural gas distribution system by injecting low-carbon hydrogen into it.