POINT TUPPER: Although smaller in scale than projects being proposed just down the road, Port Hawkesbury Paper (PHP) is exploring the potential of green hydrogen.

Geoff Clarke, Business Development Manager with PHP, told The Reporter they are planning to build an eco-industrial business park at their Point Tupper site that will house a small scale green hydrogen development project.

“We’re having exploratory discussions with Charbone Green Hydrogen,” he noted. “We’re evaluating the project to install a small scale demonstration facility that would create a small amount of hydrogen for assessment of the feasibility and economics behind producing that product on site.”

In a press release issued on June 21, Charbone Hydrogen Corporation announced it signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with PHP to develop a partnership for the establishment of a “small-scale” green hydrogen production facility in Point Tupper.

The two companies have set Nov. 18 as the date to reach a definitive agreement. Once that is done, Charbone and PHP intend to “explore and identify the best uses of hydrogen for the assets and benefits of PHP’s eco-industrial park and other potential local projects.” They went to noted that “particular attention will be paid to the potential reuse of process water in order to enhance the circularity of the processes.”

Because they have so much on site, Clarke said the eco-industrial business park makes sense.

“We have available land on site, we have available utilities, we have a highly skilled workforce, we have a good storage facility, like I said, our location is just fantastic because of the highway system and the end of the rail for basically eastern Canada, as well as access to good tidal water,” he stated. “We have a modern facility with very sophisticated technology. We got excess effluent capacity, the steam, we have water available.”

Compared to the other projects announced for Point Tupper, like those under the direction of EverWind Fuels, at the former NuStar facility, as well as Buckeye Partners, which purchased the former Bear Head LNG property, Clarke said their proposed project is much smaller.

“What we’re talking about initially is producing about 200 kilograms a day of hydrogen,” he explained. “Not to create energy elsewhere or anything else, but it might be able to establish that type of demand on a local market. One of the things we’re going to do concurrently is just to see, is there vehicles or equipment inside our wood yard that could convert over, partially or in whole, to green hydrogen as a way to lower our footprint.”

Depending on the success of the project, Clarke said they can consider expansion.

“Do we look eventually down to logging trucks and stuff like that,” he said.

If all goes according to plan, Clarke estimated that Phase 1 of the project could start by late 2023, or early 2024.

Although this is Charbone’s first such project, the Quebec-based company said it brings to the table “expertise in the development and construction of modular and scalable facilities for the production of green hydrogen.”

Charbone said it is expected to be responsible for sourcing renewable energy through separate discussions with local power producers and that Charbone will be responsible for the sale and distribution of its green hydrogen in the Maritimes.

Through the acquisition of hydropower plants in the United States of America and Canada, Charbone intends to produce green dihydrogen molecules using reliable and sustainable energy to distinguish itself as a supplier of an environmentally friendly solution for industrial and commercial companies.

Clarke said Charbone is reviewing information from PHP and the local company is trying to determine what utilities their prospective partner needs to operate the facility.

“Charbone has created multiple projects all over North America,” he noted. “We’re evaluating the technical feasibility, as well as the economics behind putting it there.”

As for why PHP is looking at green hydrogen, Clarke says it could be a good fit.

“We look at the resources around us, we have a good fibre basket that we have access to that just got re-certified,” he said. “We have an excellent forest resource. As you know there’s wind here, so what are the opportunities for wind or solar? If hydrogen scales up, that’s not out of the question either as a potential fuel source.”