Canadian hydrogen won't help Germany in short term, say experts

Hydrogen can't help Germany in short term, say experts

< p class="sc-v64krj-0 knjbxw">German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plan to sign a hydrogen agreement during Chancellor Scholz's official visit to Canada.

Canadian hydrogen is of interest to Germany, a country in the midst of energy transition. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will set foot in Montreal on Sunday evening for a visit that may well result in an agreement on the sale of Canadian green hydrogen to Germany. However, experts say this is a “long-term” gamble. hydrogen say this deal comes at a pivotal time for Canada's green hydrogen industry, which is still in its infancy.

In an interview on ICI RDI, Yvan Cliche, energy researcher at the Center for International Studies and Research at the University of Montreal, believes that the development of the hydrogen sector is in the phase of development. study at the moment. We are still at PowerPoint, he illustrates with a touch of humor. There are a lot of projects, we discuss infrastructure development.

“We're betting on the long term. In the short term, Canada can hardly help Germany and Europe. It's a bit paradoxical, all the same, because Canada is an energy powerhouse, a major oil and gas producer. But it does not have the infrastructure to export it. »

— Yvan Cliche, energy researcher, Center for International Studies and Research of the University of Montreal

Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, Germany has been struggling to emerge from the energy crisis in Europe, which is still heavily dependent on Russian natural gas. This country urgently needs energy as Russia threatens to cut off its exports to Western Europe. Germany is therefore looking for alternatives.

“Canada can play a role [in reducing dependency to Russian gas] from 2025 because a first liquefied natural gas export project will be put into operation from British Columbia. »

— Yvan Cliche, energy researcher, Center for International Studies and Research of the University of Montreal

A hydrogen charging station at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières

Hydrogen can be used in several industrial processes and is used as fuel in the transport sector.

The hydrogen described as green, so coveted and favored by Berlin, is produced with techniques that pollute less than conventional methods.

However, Canada still produces very little hydrogen. For the moment, this gas is produced for refineries or for the petrochemical sector, particularly in the field of fertilizers. And new natural gas projects in Atlantic Canada are instead intended to be converted to facilities that will provide blue hydrogen, which are less expensive to operate than those used to produce green hydrogen.


What Canada can offer is renewable energy and the ability to sequester carbon if we make blue hydrogen, explained Professor Pierre- Olivier Pineau, holder of the Chair in Energy Sector Management at HEC Montréal, in an interview on the show D'abord l'info on ICI RDI.

  • Blue Hydrogen comes from natural gas and is based on the conversion of natural gas into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. This process makes the hydrogen less polluting than grey hydrogen, produced from hydrocarbons.
  • The x27;green hydrogen is made by separating water molecules using renewable energies such as hydroelectricity as well as wind or solar energy. This production technique emits very few greenhouse gases but is much more expensive. It accounts for approximately 2% of global production.

Canada is banking on blue and green hydrogen to become one of the world's leading hydrogen producers. However, the country still has neither the necessary infrastructure to produce large quantities of hydrogen nor the means to export it on a large scale.

Are governments overestimating the potential of hydrogen to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country? Interview with Johanne Whitmore, Principal Researcher at the Chair of Energy Sector Management at HEC Montréal.

Several links in the hydrogen export chain simply do not exist and require colossal investments, recalls Mr. Pineau. The future role of hydrogen should notably depend on the speed and extent of improvements in production technology.

< p>“At the moment, it's complicated and the projects are still unclear. To produce this green hydrogen, more infrastructure and renewable electricity production would be needed, i.e. more dams, wind farms or solar farms. But in very large quantities. »

— Pierre-Olivier Pineau, HEC Montreal

Mr. Pineau added that it would take thousands of additional megawatts and electrolysers that don't yet exist today to achieve this.

There is also the issue of transportation. Indeed, to be shipped, hydrogen must be cooled in a liquid, loaded into a pipeline or a specially adapted tank truck and reheated when it reaches its destination. The process and the infrastructure are expensive, as is the production.

According to a recent report titled State of Energy in Quebec,presented in February by the Chair of Energy Sector Management at HEC Montreal, the future of this sector in the energy system will depend on innovations and trade-offs between overall energy efficiency, costs and trade-offs logistics in vehicle charging.

The choice of large-scale hydrogen will therefore pose both an energy and an economic challenge, concludes this report.

The Port-au-Port peninsula in western Newfoundland could get 164 new wind turbines.

The expected agreement between Canada and Germany, however, should make Germany the first major customer of a unique project in its kind in Canada.

Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador will be home to a zero-emissions power plant, where wind power will be used to produce hydrogen and ammonia for fuel. #x27;export.

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