Canadian Consulting Engineer

GLE completes detailed engineering for ATCO hydrogen blending project

May 19, 2023
By CCE

The project blends hydrogen into natural gas for ATCO's existing distribution network.

ATCO hydrogen project

Photo courtesy GLE.

Calgary-based Gas Liquids Engineering (GLE) has completed detailed engineering for the integration of hydrogen production and storage as part of ATCO Gas and Pipelines’ Fort Saskatchewan hydrogen blending project.

The project will use an electrolyzer to produce hydrogen from water and electricity, then briefly store it before introducing it into the company’s existing natural gas distribution system, reaching approximately 2,100 customers. GLE was responsible for the detailed design of the on-site storage tank, vent stack and piping connecting to ATCO’s electrolyzer and blending facility.

“GLE is pleased to work with ATCO toward producing increasingly environmentally friendly gas products,” says Justin Wagner, GLE’s director of facilities engineering. “With the extensive natural gas network, this is a natural first step in the development of a hydrogen economy in Canada.”

Blending began in October 2022 with approximately 5% hydrogen content, reportedly the highest blend rate anywhere in the country. ATCO intends to increase it to 20% by the end of this year. Customers receiving hydrogen-blended natural gas will experience no impact to service reliability or home appliance operations, but will reduce their carbon footprint.

“In the years to come, transitioning our customers’ heating needs to hydrogen will cost less than other options and still be as safe and reliable as natural gas is today, making it a key way to reduce emissions, as our systems move to 100% hydrogen over time,” says Patrick Bain, ATCO’s director of hydrogen projects and technology development.

With GLE’s support, ATCO’s next steps include integrating the electrolyzer into the system to begin producing hydrogen directly on-site.

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