New Energy Technologies: Clean hydrogen

Hydrogen gas is not just colorless and odorless—it’s also an effective tool in the shift toward sustainable low carbon energy.

“Green” hydrogen is created from a low-carbon or no-carbon source of electricity, such as wind or solar. It’s generated through a process called electrolysis, which uses an electric charge to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

“Blue” hydrogen is created from natural gas, and most commonly through a process called steam methane reforming, in which the natural gas is split into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. When Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is added to the steam methane reforming process, the majority of the carbon dioxide emissions are permanently sequestered, resulting in a low-carbon hydrogen.

From both of these processes, the hydrogen gas can be:

  • blended into existing natural gas transmission and distribution networks;
  • used for peak power generation;
  • directed toward modes of transportation such as heavy-haul trucking and shipping;
  • applied to industrial processes that are hard to electrify;
  • or stored for future use at a scale that exceeds battery capacity.

And in all cases, the use of clean hydrogen curbs greenhouse gas emissions as society transitions toward a lower-carbon future.

Enbridge began building our hydrogen expertise through a project with Cummins Inc. to establish North America’s first utility-scale power-to-gas (P2G) facility in Markham, Ontario.

Launched in 2018, the 2.5-megawatt (MW) Markham P2G facility has been used by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to balance electricity supply and demand. At full capacity, this facility can produce nearly 400,000 kg per day of hydrogen, enough for a fuel-cell car to drive 96 million kilometers. In late 2021, our gas utility, Enbridge Gas Inc., began using some of the green hydrogen produced at the facility in a hydrogen blending project, which involved blending 2% of the gas stream that serves about 3,600 Enbridge Gas customers in Markham. 

Enbridge subsidiary Gazifere also announced in February 2021, alongside project partner Evolugen, plans to build and operate a 20-MW electrolyzer plant in Gatineau, QC and inject the green hydrogen produced by electrolysis into Gazifere’s natural gas distribution network via a new 15-kilometer pipeline connecting the plant to the Gazifere grid. This project supports the province of Quebec’s plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Long-term outlooks currently suggest that hydrogen will have a meaningful impact on energy decarbonization—potentially resulting in between 5% and 25% of final energy consumption coming from hydrogen, and presenting a significant growth opportunity for Enbridge.

Enbridge will be a key player in the development of this low-carbon energy solution, given the sheer size of our gas pipeline network, our prowess in building and operating pipelines and storage, and our current hydrogen production and blending expertise.

We will continue to expand our expertise in low-carbon innovation with disciplined investments in hydrogen transportation infrastructure—with potential value chain extension upstream into hydrogen production, as well as downstream into large-scale underground hydrogen storage.

Nearer-term opportunities will see hydrogen blended with natural gas for transportation in existing pipelines, while in the longer term, dedicated hydrogen pipelines will be required.

Investments in green hydrogen production align well with our growing renewable power portfolio, while production of blue hydrogen offers alignment with our vast natural gas pipeline infrastructure and our CCS aspirations.

Enbridge's clean hydrogen projects

Project Location In-service date (ISD) Hydrogen produced/demand %age blend by volume Customers served (based on net generation) Emissions avoided (tCO2e/year) (based on net generation)
Markham Power-to-Gas Production Plant Markham, ON 2018 12,000 m3/day (1080 kg/day) max N/A N/A N/A
Markham H2 Blending Pilot Markham, ON 2021 Up to 200,000 m3/year (~18,000 kg/year) Up to 2% hydrogen 3,600 97 to 120
Gatineau Blending Gatineau, QC 2025 Based on engineering assessment outcome Up to 15% hydrogen 43,000 Based on engineering assessment outcome