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Ottawa dedicates $9.7M to hydrogen technology development in Alberta


The latest cash injection into Alberta's budding hydrogen sector is nearly $10 million from Ottawa.

Government officials say the $9.7 million will be used to improve access to hydrogen technology, develop and test that technology, attract investment and develop training.

They made the announcement Tuesday morning at Alberta Motor Transport Association's facility at Edmonton's airport. The AMTA and University of Alberta together received about a third of the federal dollars – $3 million – to put on a hydrogen fuel showcase in February.

The event will give the heavy-vehicle industry an opportunity to test hydrogen technology, AMTA president Willie Hamel told CTV News Edmonton. Organizers are planning road tests of hydrogen-diesel dual-fuelled trucks and hydrogen-only fuelled trucks on Highway 2 between Edmonton and Calgary.

"It allows us to go and test this with our members right away, as opposed to waiting for a demand from the members' side. It really helps with adoption when people can see what the results are," Hamel commented.

He and his peers called that an important part of scaling Alberta's hydrogen production.

Governments expect the global hydrogen market to exceed $11 trillion by 2050.

"In order for us to unlock the potential, we need to create local demand here," Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said.

A trucking company which specializes in transporting precious metals and other high-value items has already jumped on board, running an armoured truck that runs on 40 per cent hydrogen and 60 per cent diesel.

"We are under the belief that, as a venture-owned and operated business, we have to put our best foot forward in making sure that we actually take action on our ESG story," VEXSL's founder and CEO Cole Fouillard said.

He gave the politicians at the news conference on Tuesday a ride in the truck.

"The future is in hydrogen gas and hydrogen fuel and so we are currently developing all of our new trucks with the capability to run hydrogen."


Edmonton Global, the agency tasked with growing the economy of Alberta's capital region, will receive $3.74 million for two hydrogen projects: $3 million will be put toward boosting investment-attracting strategies, like hosting the 2023 Canadian Hydrogen Convention; the remaining $744,000 will be used to build the supply chain and labour market.

The last $3 million of federal funding is going to Alberta Innovates subsidiary C-FER Technologies. The organization has two large-scale testing facilities in the capital city which it will use to test hydrogen products.

"We're looking at converting existing pipelines to carry natural gas and hydrogen… We're also looking at underground storage for hydrogen," C-FER's director of corporate services Brian Wagg explained.

"[The funding] is very big. It's all new equipment we have to buy. We are going to be challenging the world in producing these new testing systems."

The Alberta government is also contributing $3 million to the work through Alberta Innovates' Hydrogen Centre of Excellence.

"What is happening in Edmonton is positioning Canada as a supplier of choice to the world for clean hydrogen and the technologies that use it," said Dan Vandal, the federal minister in charge of PrairiesCan – or Prairies Economic Development Canada – which is delivering the federal dollars.

More than 1,600 jobs are expected to be created by the investment.

Canada's hydrogen strategy aims to create a total of 350,000 jobs in the hydrogen sector by 2050. Alberta's own hydrogen strategy outlines using hydrogen for power generation, industrial processes, transportation, and residential and commercial heating.

Canada generates $200 million in hydrogen exports in a year, according to the federal government.

With files from CTV News Edmoton's Amanda Anderson Top Stories

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