The German multinational company Thysenkrupp has received the order to build and operate a huge hydroelectrolysis plant in Quebec, in which around 11,100 tons of green hydrogen are produced annually with one of the world’s most powerful electrolysers.
Canada’s mountainous terrain offers exceptional opportunities for clean hydropower generation, and the country has worked to maximize its benefits. Around 61 percent of the country’s total electricity generation comes from hydropower plants with a total production capacity of 82 GW. This country with only 37.5 million inhabitants ranks fourth in the world in terms of total hydropower production, only behind the USA, Brazil and China.
Now it’s about hydrogen. State-owned energy company Hydro-Quebec, the country’s largest energy producer, has opened a CAD 200 million (US $ 159 million) electrolysis plant in Varennes, near Montreal, that uses a giant hydropower electrolyzer to convert water into Convert 11,100 metric tons of green hydrogen and 88,000 tons of oxygen per year.
This is not initially intended for export. The 88 MW plant’s output will provide clean energy and oxygen to a nearby recycling facility, converting non-recyclable waste into biofuels rather than landfill.
But ultimately, Canada hopes that facilities like this can turn their massive hydropower potential into a clean energy export business, power tomorrow’s fuel cell vehicles and aircraft, feed into more integrated hydrogen economies and industrial use cases, and sell them as a raw material from which carbon can be neutrals synthetic fuels are produced.
According to Hydro-Quebec, green H2 is also being considered as a potential energy storage medium, although it will present some challenges. We wonder if it would be more efficient to simply pour the water back uphill using a pumped hydropower storage system.
The new hydroelectrolysis system is scheduled to go into operation in 2023.