Enbridge hydrogen blending project now operational

By Keefe Borden13 January 2022

This $5.2 million pilot blending project involves enhancements to the existing Markham Power-to-Gas facility. Image courtesy of Enbridge.

Enbridge Gas Inc. and project partner Cummins Inc. said that North America’s first hydrogen blending initiative is fully operational and serving the city of Markham, Canada.

Enbridge Gas now has the capacity to deliver blended gas, clean hydrogen injected into the natural gas distribution network to reduce the fuel’s carbon footprint, to about 3600 customers in Markham.

The renewable hydrogen gas now available for blending is produced at Enbridge’s existing utility-scale Markham Power-to-Gas facility, established in 2018 by Enbridge and Cummins with financial support from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), the Canadian Gas Association (CGA) and NGIF Capital Corporation.

Through this pilot project, Enbridge Gas will initially provide a maximum hydrogen blended content of up to 2% by volume of the natural gas supplied to approximately 3,600 customers in Markham, Ontario starting in 3Q21, eliminating up to 117 tons of CO2 annually from the atmosphere, the two companies said.

The pilot project will not impact the standard market cost of natural gas.

This $5.2 million pilot blending project involves enhancements to the existing Markham Power-to-Gas facility, which was built through an Enbridge-Cummins joint venture in 2018 to help balance Ontario’s electricity supply and demand by storing the province’s surplus electricity as pure hydrogen until it’s needed.

The plant has also proven its potential as a solution to the challenge of storing the province’s surplus electrical energy using Enbridge’s existing natural gas pipeline infrastructure or in the form of pure hydrogen, which can later be reconverted back to electricity, Enbridge said.

“Zero-carbon hydrogen is now playing a role in Ontario’s shift to lower‐carbon, sustainable energy solution—and is an important example of the investments Enbridge Gas is making across multiple markets to green the natural gas grid while continuing to meet the demand for safe, reliable and affordable energy,” said Cynthia Hansen, Enbridge’s executive vice president and president of gas distribution and storage.

The pilot project’s success places Enbridge Gas in a position to validate and pursue larger-scale hydrogen-blending activities in other parts of its distribution system, strengthening the capacity for made-in-Ontario clean energy solutions, Enbridge said.

“Projects like this demonstrate that the energy transition is accelerating quickly, driving the green hydrogen economy in North America, and paving the way for large-scale adoption,” said Amy Adams, Cummins vice president of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. “Cummins is proud to leverage our electrolyzer technology to support Ontario’s zero-carbon goals and bring cleaner, greener energy to residents.”

On Oct. 29, 2020, the Ontario Energy Board approved an application by Enbridge Gas for a project to use the Markham Power-to-Gas facility as a pilot project to test blending of renewable hydrogen gas into the existing natural gas network, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Enbridge Gas is Canada’s largest natural gas storage, transmission and distribution company and is based in Ontario. Cummins Inc. makes diesel, natural gas, electric and hybrid powertrains, and powertrain-related components. It is based in Columbus, Indiana.

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