FortisBC continues to innovate as it looks for new and more efficient ways to distribute natural gas throughout the province.
The utility will partner with the School of Engineering at UBC Okanagan campus (UBCO) and invest $500,000 to study how it can further reduce emissions from its natural gas supply by delivering hydrogen, a carbon free energy, through its extensive distribution network.
“Hydrogen is an abundant element and a clean energy carrier, and will be step change for our efforts on climate action,” explained Doug Slater, vice-president of external and Indigenous relations with FortisBC. “And in order to leverage the potential of hydrogen we need to partner with leading experts in the field. We’re thrilled to have the minds at UBCO on board, helping us unlock this opportunity for what will be a giant step forward in advancing a lower carbon future.”
Hydrogen does not create any carbon dioxide emissions when burned, so will greatly reduce its impact on the environment.
There are many methods to produce hydrogen, including creating blue hydrogen from methane and green hydrogen from water using electricity, resulting in greater opportunity to create carbon free energy that can be integrated into BC’s natural gas system.
Blending hydrogen, and other renewable gas, into the natural gas system will reduce emissions from homes and businesses without expensive retrofits.
The challenge is to understand potential effects hydrogen may have on the existing natural gas system.
The UBCO engineering team’s extensive study will test hydrogen to determine what blend and concentration levels of hydrogen are safest to deliver in FortisBC’s system.
“Over the past several years, the School of Engineering and FortisBC have forged a strong research partnership to uncover smart energy and clean technology solutions for British Columbia,” said Rehan Sadiq, Executive Associate Dean at UBCO’s School of Engineering.
FortisBC’s $25 million Clean Growth Innovation Fund is dedicated to lowering customer costs and supporting the transformation to a lower carbon economy.
The fund is among the many initiatives that will help FortisBC achieve its 30BY30 target, a goal to reduce its customers’ greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.
FortisBC’s target is to have at least 15 per cent of its natural gas supply carbon neutral within the same timeframe.
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