The Canadian government has launched a strategy that sees low-carbon and zero-emission hydrogen fuel technology as a key part of the nation’s path to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The strategy is underpinned by a federal investment of CAD1.5 billion (USD1.2 billion) in a Low-carbon and Zero-emissions Fuels Fund to increase the production and use of low-carbon fuels, including hydrogen.

“Hydrogen’s moment has come. The economic and environmental opportunities for our workers and communities are real. There is global momentum, and Canada is harnessing it,” Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan said as he a launched the strategy on 16 December.

Hydrogen Strategy for Canada is designed to spur investment and partnerships to establish Canada as a global supplier of hydrogen and to increase domestic production. This will transform the Canadian energy sector, NRCan – the federal department of natural resources – said.

Canada is currently one of the top ten global producers of hydrogen, producing an estimated 3 million tonnes per year and the country will benefit from the growing global demand for hydrogen in a market that is expected to reach almost CAD12 trillion by 2050, NRCan said. The strategy will also be complemented by the Clean Fuel Standard, which will further drive investment and growth in Canada’s fuels sector by incentivising the development and adoption of clean fuels such as hydrogen.

Hydrogen production in Canada is expected to be based on a mix of pathways. “The aggregate hydrogen demand projected in 2050 highlights the need for Canada to explore all low-carbon intensity hydrogen production opportunities,” it says, adding that there are “synergies” between hydrogen production, nuclear and renewable electricity. “Hydrogen can be produced via electrolysis using off-peak nuclear electricity in the near term, while high-temperature thermal processes or coupling with small modular reactors are viable in the longer term. Hydrogen can also play a role in daily to seasonal storage of variable renewable resources, enabling a higher penetration of intermittent renewables on the grid.

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