THP-E318: Interesting Developments In H2 Refueling Stations And Gold Hydrogen Need To Be Addressed

Paul Rodden • Season: 2024 • Episode: 318

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Welcome to The Hydrogen Podcast!

In episode 318, British Columbia looks to invest big in hydrogen transportation infrastructure and gold hydrogen reveals some of their natural hydrogen well results in South Australia. I’ll go over all of this and give my thoughts on today’s hydrogen podcast.

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Paul Rodden



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British Columbia looks to invest big in hydrogen transportation infrastructure and gold hydrogen reveals some of their natural hydrogen well results in South Australia. I’ll go over all of this and give my thoughts on today’s hydrogen podcast. So the big questions in the energy industry today are, how is hydrogen the primary driving force behind the evolution of energy? Where’s capital being deployed for hydrogen projects globally? And where are the best investment opportunities for early adopters who recognize the importance of hydrogen? I will address the critical issues and give you the information you need to deploy capital. Those are the questions that will unlock the potential of hydrogen, and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Paul Rodden, and welcome to the hydrogen podcast. In an article in the Canadian Press on May 24 $900 million project to create hydrogen plants and refueling stops in British Columbia. The British Columbia government says a $900 million project to create a network of hydrogen production plants and vehicle refuelling stations will create nearly 300 jobs and cut greenhouse gas emissions in the province. The Crown corporation Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) is providing a $337 million loan to support the project by hydrogen company HTEC, which involves plans to build up to 20 refuelling stations for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, 18 of them in B.C. and the others in Alberta. The CIB and the B.C. government say the refuelling stations will be supplied by three new hydrogen production plants in Burnaby, Nanaimo and Prince George. They say a facility to liquefy 15 tonnes of byproduct hydrogen will also be built in North Vancouver and the project, called H2 Gateway, will create more than 280 jobs. The government says 14 of the new stations will be able to refuel up to 300 heavy vehicles per day. It says hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles can travel long distances and have short refuelling times. Premier David Eby, who was attending the project announcement with federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and other officials, says H2 Gateway represents an economic and job-creation opportunity and a way to reduce pollution. “We know the cost of inaction on climate change is not just in the price of responding to extreme weather like forest fires,” Eby said. “Inaction would also cost us new jobs, new investment and new opportunities in growing a cleaner economy. We can’t afford to miss this economic opportunity. That’s why we’re supporting job-creating clean-energy hydrogen projects that will drive new investment and reduce pollution.” The B.C. government says H2 Gateway could reduce emissions by about 133,000 tonnes a year. “Producing clean fuels like hydrogen right here in B.C. to replace diesel use for transportation helps to reduce harmful pollution while creating new jobs and opportunities in the clean economy,” said Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Josie Osborne. More than half of Canada’s hydrogen and fuel-cell companies are in B.C., the provincial government says. HTEC president Colin Armstrong said developing an “ecosystem” of supply and fuelling stations was the first step in creating demand for hydrogen adoption in the transport industry. Saying “We can’t quite drive up to Prince George today, but our goal is to connect up there, particularly on the heavy-duty side of things,” Armstrong said. “But once we do this, we believe we can take [hydrogen] certainly across the country and to the rest of the world.” The project is designed to support hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles that the government says can travel long distances and have short refuelling times, and 14 of the new stations will be able to refuel up to 300 heavy vehicles per day. Murray Thomson, professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at the University of Toronto, said hydrogen has long been championed as a potential clean-burning fuel for mass adoption because it emits only water when consumed while generating a large amount of energy. That large quantity of energy generated through hydrogen and its refill speed are two reasons the trucking sector prefers the source to electric trucks weighed down by heavy batteries with low energy density. “Trucks need a lot of energy,” Thomson said. “So you’d have to have a lot of batteries, and that might not be practical. Hydrogen is a way to [get] a lot of energy-dense fuel on trucks.” He said, while he isn’t familiar with the details of the H2 Gateway, its plan on paper has several factors that could help it realize the decarbonization goal stated in the project’s announcement. First, the hydrogen production would be through electrolysis, a process that doesn’t emit carbon, unlike the creation of hydrogen through processes such as natural gas reforming. Second, the electricity needed for the hydrogen production plants in B.C. would be mostly from hydro, further limiting carbon emissions in the process. Thomson said the key challenge for hydrogen adoption now is cost, and a decision for the federal government to financially support such a project is crucial in determining how a larger scale-up of the technology will look saying Many times, you really don’t know how it’s all going to turn out,” he said. “You don’t know all the implications until you build it. So to a certain extent, building this first-of-a-kind technology — getting it out there, see how it works — is essential to see the potential of this technology. “You can only do so much just designing it. You need to deploy it in order to really get the technology going.” HTEC did not provide a timeline for construction of the H2 Gateway on its fact sheet for the project. Okay, so a decent sized project slated for British Columbia with 15 tons of liquid hydrogen to be created at the h2 Gateway facility in Vancouver. Now, my first thought on this is the technology is electrolytic the best choice for the situation? Well, that question can usually be debated fairly well. But in this case, I think with the resources that the region has, with ample water and the hydroelectric power available, this could be a good use case. My big questions would be if they are planning to create new dams for the power or use existing, and will the harsh winters affect their hydrogen production. If new dams are constructed, there is going to be a massive amount of downstream analysis to determine that impact. But speaking of the harsh winters, I’m surprised this article didn’t mention the upside of fuel cell electric vehicles actually being able to perform in sub freezing temperatures compared to their battery counterpart. That should be a massive factor when choosing electric vehicles in these climates. Next, in an article in Forbes on May 29, Tim Treadgold writes, the hydrogen race has a new low cost underground runner. The case for producing hydrogen from underground reservoirs in the same way natural gas is produced took a step forward last week with the successful testing in Australia of an exploration well which flowed high purity hydrogen and helium. If underground (or natural) hydrogen can be produced at a commercial level, and at a reasonable cost, it could imperil plans to manufacture hydrogen as an oil and gas replacement. The Ramsay project of Gold Hydrogen reported flows to the surface of both hydrogen and helium from drilling on the Yorke Peninsula across St Vincent Gulf from the South Australian capital, Adelaide. The company said natural hydrogen with purity levels up to 95.8% hydrogen had been encountered across seven zones with the highest purity at a depth of 1740 feet (531 metres). “Natural hydrogen and helium flowed to the surface, achieving the primary objective before formation water encroachment impeded further flow testing,” Gold Hydrogen said in a statement filed at the Australian Stock Exchange. “This is a crucial result ahead of stage two testing.” The Ramsay project is following up reports of naturally occurring hydrogen in oil wells drilled in the 1920s and 30s. Gold Hydrogen managing director, Neil McDonald, said in a statement that to test seven zones in Ramsay from 200 meters to 1000 meters and to have confirmed natural hydrogen can be extracted to the surface from all seven zones, plus confirming that helium can be extracted to surface from a 180m gross thick pay zone is a remarkable result. Seismic testing of the company’s large land holdings on the Yorke Peninsula and south of Adelaide is planned to start soon to help identify future drilling targets. Interest in underground hydrogen, which can also be called natural or white hydrogen, has been growing as the gas itself is increasingly seen as having a future in decarbonizing the environment. Okay, so a quick but very important update on the well results from gold, hydrogen and their exploratory Well, in Australia. This is very promising news, not just for gold hydrogen and South Australia. But for natural hydrogen in general. If you know about oil and gas drilling, you know that the opportunity to drill at seven pay zones dispersed through 800 meters of vertical depth is unbelievably good. As a comparison, the Midland basin in the Permian is roughly 2000 feet thick. This hydrogen basin is over 2600 feet thick. Now, we don’t know how thick each pay zone is, what the flow rates are, or what sort of decline curves these wells could potentially have. And those are important questions that will need to be answered. But for now, I think we should view this news with cautious excitement, because the upside looks tremendous. All right, that’s it for me, everyone. If you have a second, I would really appreciate it. If you could leave a good review on whatever platform it is that you listen to Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google, YouTube, whatever it is, that would be a tremendous help to the show. And as always, if you ever have any feedback, you’re welcome to email me directly at So until next time, keep your eyes up and honor one another. Hey, this is Paul. I hope you liked this podcast. If you did and want to hear more. I’d appreciate it if you would either subscribe to this channel on YouTube, or connect with your favorite platform through my website at Thanks for listening. I very much appreciate it. Have a great day.