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Low-carbon hydrogen strategy introduced in British Columbia

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British Columbia has just become the first Canadian province to introduce a low-carbon hydrogen business and environmental strategy. Particularly, this initiative will look reduce emissions and create jobs in the clean technology sector.

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Accordingly, Bruce Ralston, minister of energy, mines, and low carbon innovation, said Tuesday the low-carbon hydrogen strategy uses actions involving government, industry, and innovators. Therefore, the initiative will help achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 in British Columbia.

About the initiative

Additionally, Ralston said the short-term goals include establishing regional hydrogen hubs to supply fuel to industries and consumers. They also include increasing the number of medium and heavy-duty vehicles powered by low-carbon hydrogen; particularly, for their use on highways and industrial sites.

Similarly, the minister underscored how low-carbon hydrogen can be achieved. Particularly, he noted, this product emits no carbon emissions when burned or used in a fuel cell. Besides, several industries consider it a climate-friendly solution to activities where electricity is not practical.

Indeed, hydrogen can be produced from many sources, including both fossil fuels and renewable resources. However, British Columbia’s plan would primarily support the so-called green pathway; thus, the province will focus on hydroelectricity to create the fuel.

Reception – Natural gas use questioned

As part of the initiative’s reception, The Pembina Institute, an organization that focuses on energy policies, said in a statement Tuesday it welcomed the low-carbon hydrogen strategy. However, it said it was concerned the province would still allow the development of so-called blue hydrogen; which, indeed, comes from fossil fuels, including natural gas.

Thus, said the institute’s regional director Karen Tam Wu commented; “While B.C.’s new strategy proposes to ramp up production of green hydrogen, made from the province’s abundant renewable energy resources; it also encourages the continued development of natural gas for the production of blue hydrogen, which still has significant greenhouse gas emissions.”

This is worth noting, considering that British Columbia’s gas sector produces the highest amount of carbon pollution in the province; in fact, at 20 percent of total emissions, Pembina Institute’s regional director noted.

How the province will leverage both low-carbon hydrogen and blue hydrogen

On the other hand, minister Ralston said the green hydrogen pathway has the potential for development; mainly because of the province’s electricity grid. However, blue hydrogen initiatives could also be explored.

Hence, the minister acknowledged British Columbia’s previous attempts to embrace the technology more than a decade ago were ahead of their time. For instance, those included the development of a hydrogen highway from B.C. to California. In fact, Ralston noted, those initiatives are now in a better position to succeed.

Additionally, Ralston said B.C. is a global leader in the area; particularly with more than 50 percent of Canada’s hydrogen and fuel-cell companies located in the province. Also, the province hosts about 60 percent of research investment concerning low-carbon hydrogen.

Conclusions

Accordingly, the ministry estimates hydrogen can reduce B.C.’s emissions by 7.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050.

Lastly, Ralston concluded in a news conference that; “the B.C. hydrogen strategy outlines 63 actions for government, industry, and innovators; particularly to aim at accelerating the production, use, and export of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen.”

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