West Kelowna council asked to consider green hydrogen plant

Toronto-based company wants to build at Shannon Lake and Bartley roads

A green hydrogen plant has been proposed to the City of West Kelowna.

Toronto-based GH Power is looking to build on industrial land at Shannon Lake and Bartley roads. The company has proposed similar plants in Summerland and Penticton.

It built the world’s first green hydrogen reactor in Hamilton, Ontario which was commissioned last month. GH Power uses a proprietary process turning scrap aluminum into green hydrogen, alumina, and heat.

“All of these products can be sold into industry and allows us to be competitive with fossil fuels,” said Steve Neil, vice-president of business development and land acquisition for GH Power.

The company wants to build a five-megawatt plant, similar to its Penticton proposal, that would provide one megawatt of electrical power, enough to supply energy to 250 four-person homes for one year. If GH Power is permitted to build the West Kelowna plant, it would look at scaling up to 15 megawatts.

“The electrical power alone would be enough to supply 750 homes in the community,” added Neil. “Even the five-megawatt plant will provide 18,000 tons of aluminum oxide (alumina) as a by-product, which can be sold back to industry to create all kinds of products including primary aluminum.”

Neil told council the plant would initially produce 1,080 megatons of green hydrogen annually, displacing almost 40,000 megatons of carbon from the atmosphere, have the potential to blend with natural gas pipelines and provide 15 to 17 jobs in the community.

“We will also be able to provide off-grid power to mining, forestry, and large infrastructure projects,” he said. “We would love to talk to the city about converting their fleet to hydrogen.”

Neil added green hydrogen vehicles also have some advantages over electric vehicles.

“At the end of the day both of these technologies are going to be required in order for us to get to net-zero. The heavier these vehicles get, the larger they get, the more hydrogen makes sense. Also with hydrogen, you don’t have long fueling times. Plugging in an electric vehicle can take several hours to fill. With a hydrogen vehicle, (it is) just like going to the gas station and filling up your car and you’re done. The density of hydrogen allows you to get longer driving times.”

Council had concerns about potential emissions and pollution from the plant.

“There are zero emissions from our plant,” said Gary Grahn, chief operation officer at GH power. “We have a zero carbon footprint. Our by-product of alumina is benign. The hydrogen is clean and the heat of course is clean.”

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Business and IndustrialCity CouncilCity of West Kelowna