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Its first in North America project is now fully operational in Markham, Ontario [Image: Enbridge Gas]

By Dale Lunan

Canadian gas utility Enbridge Gas said January 13 its Markham hydrogen blending project in Ontario, the first of its kind in North America, is now fully operational.

The C$5.2mn (US$4.2mn) project involves enhancements to the existing Markham power-to-gas facility, an Enbridge-Cummins joint venture that has been converting surplus renewable electricity into hydrogen since 2018.

Some of that hydrogen is now being injected into a portion of the Enbridge Gas distribution system in Markham and delivered as a 2% blend with natural gas to some 3,600 Enbridge Gas customers. 

“Zero-carbon hydrogen is now playing a role in Ontario’s shift to lower–carbon, sustainable energy solutions and is an important example of the investments Enbridge Gas is making across multiple markets to green the natural gas grid while continuing to meet the demand for safe, reliable and affordable energy,” Enbridge Gas president Cynthia Hansen said.

The project will eliminate up to 117 mt/year of CO2, helping the City of Markham move towards its net-zero by 2050 aspirations. It also lays the groundwork for Enbridge Gas to validate the technology and pursue larger-scale hydrogen blending activities in other parts of its distribution system, which serves about 3.8mn customers in Ontario.

“The effective utilisation of hydrogen is a critical part of our government’s plan to lower emissions across Canada,” Natural Resources Canada minister Jonathan Wilkinson said. “This initiative highlights the significant opportunities associated with clean hydrogen as well as the innovative technologies being developed by companies operating in Canada’s energy sector.”

The hydrogen blending project, approved by the Ontario Energy Board in 2020, is supported by Sustainable Development Technology Canada, a federal agency, the Canadian Gas Association (CGA) and NGIF Capital.