Hydrogen Blending Project Now Operational, Reducing Carbon Footprint of Natural Gas Delivered by Enbridge Gas

GTA residents could soon be cooking with gas. Hydrogen gas, that is.
Jan 13, 2022 12:45 PM ET
Power plant with yellow banner reading, "Clean hydrogen enters the Markham energy mix"

Enbridge Gas Inc. and project partner Cummins Inc. announced today that North America’s first hydrogen blending initiative is fully operational, and successfully serving the southern Ontario city of Markham.

Enbridge Gas now has the capacity to deliver blended gas—that is, clean hydrogen injected into the natural gas distribution network to reduce the fuel’s carbon footprint—to about 3,600 customers in Markham.

The renewable hydrogen gas now available for blending is produced at Enbridge’s existing utility-scale Markham Power-to-Gas facility, established in 2018 by Enbridge and Cummins with financial support from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), the Canadian Gas Association (CGA) and NGIF Capital Corporation.

“Zero-carbon hydrogen is now playing a role in Ontario’s shift to lower‐carbon, sustainable energy solution—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,” says Cynthia Hansen, Enbridge’s Executive Vice President and President of Gas Distribution and Storage.

Adds Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources: “Congratulations to Enbridge and the City of Markham for the successful launch of this pilot project. The effective utilization of hydrogen is a critical part of our government’s plan to lower emissions across Canada. 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. I look forward to seeing the deployment of similar and scaled initiatives going forward.”

Hydrogen gas is a low- or zero-carbon energy source generated from natural gas via carbon capture, or from a clean or renewable electrical energy source via electrolysis. It can then be stored in a variety of ways—including as pure hydrogen, or blended into the existing natural gas network to offset traditional natural gas and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The Markham Power-to-Gas facility has helped balance Ontario’s electricity supply and demand since 2018.

For this $5.2-million pilot blending project, the facility stores surplus electricity as pure hydrogen, which is blended into Enbridge Gas’ existing natural gas framework—creating lower-carbon natural gas delivery without impacting energy costs, reliability or safety.

“I’m excited to see that this innovative low-carbon hydrogen project is fully operational. Today’s announcement is great news for families and businesses in the Markham area,” remarks Todd Smith, Ontario’s Minister of Energy. “Low-carbon hydrogen has the potential to play an important role supporting Ontario’s reliable, clean and sustainable energy future. Our government proudly supports the production of this promising new energy source.”

The pilot project will abate up to 117 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere every year, marking another important step by Enbridge Gas in its commitment to help drive Ontario’s transition to a clean energy future.

“Markham’s GHG per capita is among the lowest of any large municipality in Canada, and Enbridge Gas’ hydrogen-blending project complements our municipal energy plan of reaching net zero emissions by 2050,” says Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti.

The success of this project will allow Enbridge Gas to validate and pursue larger-scale hydrogen-blending activities in other parts of its distribution system, further reducing the utility’s already low carbon footprint and strengthening the capacity for made-in-Ontario clean energy solutions.