The Alberta government announced it will give out $50 million through Alberta Innovates and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) to support the province’s hydrogen energy industry by aiding innovators and companies.
Calgary-based Alberta Innovates disperses funding for innovative projects in the province, while Edmonton-based ERA invests in Alberta-based technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
ERA will distribute $25 million in funding for later-stage innovations through its Accelerating Hydrogen Challenge, while $20 million to $25 million will come from Alberta Innovates to support early-stage innovations through the Hydrogen Centre of Excellence Competition 2, according to a release.
The Alberta Innovates program follows an earlier program announced last year, which set aside $20 million in funding for hydrogen.
Additional funding will come from Natural Resources Canada.
“This targeted and coordinated effort between ERA and Alberta Innovates with funding from the Government of Alberta is required to ensure a healthy pipeline of hydrogen technologies across the value chain are supported,” Justin Riemer, CEO of ERA, said in the release.
How to tap into the funding
Both organizations will accept proposals in fields such as:
- hydrogen production, storage, transmission and end-use in heavy-duty transportation;
- industrial heat, power and chemicals;
- commercial and residential heating; and
- other industries.
Applications are open to: technology developers, industry, industrial associations, small and medium-sized enterprises, research and development organizations, post-secondary institutions, municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, Indigenous businesses, municipalities, government research labs and other related figures and organizations.
Applications for ERA-funded projects through its Accelerating Hydrogen Challenge must be received by Sept. 26, 2023 and completed in 36 months.
Applications for Alberta Innovates-funded projects through the Hydrogen Centre of Excellence Competition 2 are due by Sept. 26, 2023 and must be completed in 24 months.
Alberta’s growing interest in hydrogen
Alberta has focused on hydrogen as a critical part of its clean energy switch. In its Hydrogen Roadmap, the province laid out a blueprint to be a major hydrogen exporter by 2030 and adopt the clean fuel to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 14 million tonnes per year.
Such a transition could create “tens of thousands of jobs” and attract billions of dollars of economic activity during the construction phase, the report states.
It argues Alberta has advantages to lead in hydrogen, such as its pre-existing capacity, low costs of production, educated workforce, and carbon capture and utilization capacity.
The province produces more than 2.4 million tonnes of hydrogen per year, according to the roadmap.
Hundreds of millions of dollars of government investment flowed into large hydrogen projects, like $476 million toward a $1.6-billion ‘blue hydrogen’ facility from Air Products.
Companies like Aurora Hydrogen, which received $2 million from Alberta Innovates for its microwave-based hydrogen production technology, are also a part of this ecosystem.