The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership (SLEP) has laid out a roadmap to 2050 in order to become the "largest low-carbon Hydrogen Hub (H2ub) in Ontario."
A strategic plan was recently published online.
Senior Economic Development Officer Matthew Slotwinski said there would be numerous benefits to becoming Ontario's Hydrogen Hub, including economic spinoffs such as job creation and capital investments.
"We think over these first few years, there is a tremendous opportunity to see the development of the hydrogen economy in the area at various scales of development, everything from pilot or demonstration scale facilities all the way to commercial operations," said Slotwinski.
Sarnia-Lambton's potential to advance low-carbon hydrogen production was also regarded by the Ontario government in April 2022, through the Low-Carbon Hydrogen Strategy.
"By being able to see development in the low-carbon hydrogen space, it really allows the province and the associated industries to move towards those low-carbon opportunities. Ultimately, the goal that's here to be achieved is to reduce carbon emissions," Slotwinski said.
"Canada has made goals towards net zero by 2025. To be able to achieve that, the low-carbon hydrogen economy is essential. The Sarnia-Lambton area has an opportunity, has the assets, and has the local stakeholders to be competitive nationally in achieving the low-carbon hydrogen economy."
Now that the strategy has been released, Slotwinski said the ultimate goal over the next few years is to "hit the ground running" by promoting the area and advocating for policy changes.
"The most immediate hurdle that we're facing in the near future is that there are current government regulations that prohibit carbon sequestration. So that's taking the carbon emissions that are released into the air and putting them into the ground for permanent storage," said Slotwinski. "Right now, Ontario's the only jurisdiction in the world where it's not permitted to do carbon sequestration. The stakeholders associated with Ontario's Hydrogen Hub are working very closely together in conjunction with the Ontario government to have these regulations removed, at which time, the Sarnia-Lambton complex will become highly competitive, not only on a national but an international basis."
Demand for low-carbon hydrogen could range from 25,000 tonnes per year to over 60,000 tonnes per year by 2030, according to SLEP's strategic plan.
SLEP CEO Dan Taylor said similar strategies have led to investments and the development of successful hydrogen hubs in competing regions of Canada, like Alberta for example.
“With provincial, national, and international competition for investment dollars and associated projects, we have taken the necessary steps to position the Sarnia-Lambton region to capitalize on the burst of economic activity that is expected in coming years and decades," said Taylor in a media release.
The full SLEP H2ub strategic plan can be found by clicking here.