Suncor Energy And ATCO Plan Canadian Hydrogen Project

    The new hydrogen production plant in Alberta will produce more than 300,000 tons of hydrogen per year.

    ATCO’s Heartland Energy Centre (Image Courtesy Of ATCO)

    Suncor Energy and ATCO Ltd. are collaborating on early-stage design and engineering for a hydrogen project near Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada. When complete, the project will produce more than 330,693 tons (300,000 tonnes) of hydrogen per year. It is expected that 85% of the produced hydrogen will be used to supply existing energy demand. Specifically, 65% of the output would be used in refining processes and cogeneration of steam and electricity at the Suncor Edmonton Refinery, reducing refinery emissions by 60%. In addition, approximately 20% of the output could be used in the Alberta natural gas distribution system, also further reducing emissions.


    The hydrogen production facility will be located at ATCO’s Heartland Energy Centre near Fort Saskatchewan and could be operational as early as 2028, provided it has the required regulatory and fiscal support. A sanctioning decision is expected in 2024. In addition to supplying hydrogen to Suncor and the Alberta gas grid, the project would make hydrogen volumes available for Alberta’s other industrial, municipal, and commercial transport users.


    “This project would be a global scale solution to reducing emissions with made-in-Canada energy ingenuity, while positioning Alberta at the forefront of the clean hydrogen economy,” said Nancy Southern, chair and chief executive officer, ATCO. “A clean energy future is a shared national priority, and a transformational project like this one will require extraordinary collaboration with all levels of governments. We look forward to working with our partners in government and with our regulators to bring this vision to life.”


    Suncor will construct and operate the hydrogen production and carbon dioxide sequestration facilities and ATCO will construct and operate associated pipeline and hydrogen storage facilities. The hydrogen production facility design will be capable of being replicated, allowing for the construction of subsequent project phases.


    Although several provincial and federal policies, fiscal programs, and regulations have already been put in place to support significant decarbonization and the development of a leading low-carbon fuels industry, further regulatory certainty and fiscal support is required for the project to progress. For example, the availability of carbon sequestration rights, emissions reduction compliance credits, regulations to allow hydrogen blending into natural gas, and investment tax credits for carbon capture utilization, and storage are all critical to the economic viability of the project. Suncor and ATCO are continuing to work collaboratively with the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada to address these areas and create the regulatory and policy certainty and fiscal framework needed to advance this world-scale clean energy investment.