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Premier touts hydrogen project as a hub for northern B.C. investment

Teralta Hydrogen Solutions proposal would help fuel the nearby Canfor pulp mill
British Columbia Premier David Eby says a planned clean energy hydrogen project in Prince George is set to cut harmful carbon emissions and create jobs. Eby speaks during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns

A planned clean energy hydrogen project in Prince George, B.C., will reduce carbon emissions at a local pulp mill and create jobs, Premier David Eby said Tuesday.

The proposed project by Chilliwack-based Teralta Hydrogen Solutions would replace natural gas fuel used at the city’s Canfor pulp mill’s boiler system with hydrogen.

The company said the hydrogen would be a byproduct from the Chemtrade Logistics chemical production facility, located near the pulp mill that makes sodium chlorate, which is used in the papermaking bleaching process.

Eby said the project has the potential to elevate Prince George as a hub for hydrogen investment in B.C., Eby said.

“The innovation, the leading edge work that is happening in B.C. is putting us in excellent position to take advantage of the global shifts that are taking place around reducing carbon,” he said at a news conference.

“I’ve told people many times, and today is another demonstration, that resource workers in our province are on the front line for fighting climate change with the clean products we produce,” he said. “Everything from the cleanest aluminum to natural gas to now today pulp and paper.”

Teralta’s proposal would reduce natural gas use at the mill by 25 per cent, Eby said.

The company specializes in the development of clean-hydrogen facilities to transform fossil fuels and industrial waste into clean hydrogen.

B.C.’s Hydrogen Strategy, introduced in 2021, includes regulatory changes that allow gas utilities to acquire hydrogen to replace fossil fuels.

Last March, the government announced a Clean Energy and Major Projects Office as part of its program to fast-track investment in clean energy and transition to a clean economy.

“Clean hydrogen opens a world of opportunities for our province that we’re not taking advantage of yet and are right there for us,” Eby said.

The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation said in a statement that more than 50 per cent of Canada’s hydrogen and fuel-cell companies are in B.C., and the province accounts for about 60 per cent of research investment in hydrogen and fuel-cell development.

Eby is in Prince George attending the 21st annual Natural Resources Forum, billed as “Western Canada’s largest multi-sector resource conference bringing First Nations, government, and the natural resource sector together to discuss opportunities, innovative solutions and success stories.”

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