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Prince George to become hydrogen hub of global significance

“This will put us on the map in such a significant way. Ever since the railway came here, UNBC, I would put this project right up there.”

Those were the confident words of Prince George Mayor Simon Yu this afternoon, speaking about the new Fortescue green hydrogen plant that will be constructed in the Northern Capital.

“Project Coyote,” the code name for the plant, has been in the works for two years.

Once it is up and running, the plant will produce “approximately 140,000 tonnes per year of green hydrogen and approximately 800,000 tonnes per year of green ammonia,” according to Fortescue. “This would make Project Coyote one of the largest green hydrogen projects in Canada.”

Fortescue’s multi-billionaire Non-Executive Chairman and primary shareholder, Dr. Andrew Forrest, was in Prince George from Australia this afternoon meeting with Yu, City Councillors, and members of the Lheidli T’enneh at the House of Ancestors.

He also gave a harrowing presentation on the present and future dangers of climate change, and what the Fortescue plant will bring to Prince George and Canada.

In a brief summary, Forrest said the plant will use electricity to “split water into oxygen and hydrogen,” then take the hydrogen and “sell it as a proper industrial product” or mix it with Nitrogen from the air to create ammonia.

“For fast burning, like very quick engines, hydrogen is perfect,” he explained. “Slow burning like trucks, trains, ships, ammonia. That’s it; electricity, hydrogen, ammonia.”

The plant, which is estimated to bring over 100 permanent jobs to Prince George, could just be a “stepping stone” for the region if all goes well, Forrest said.

“This will be here forever, that is sustainable fuel. It is a legacy economic asset,” Forrest said.

“This will be a green hydrogen hub, not just for BC, but of global significance,” Yu said. “To be is to do. And here, we are going to do.”

When asked why Prince George, he looked towards Yu and Lheidli T’enneh Chief Dolleen Logan and said “have you met these people? You go where there is leadership, that is first. If you don’t have leadership, forget about it. [And] resources, this world of ours, and particularity here, is endowed with sustainable natural resources.”

Fortescue signed a memorandum of understanding with the Lheidli T’enneh in 2021, they are not negotiating a fulsome Impact and Benefits Agreement.

“I am really excited about it,” Logan said. “With Canfor shutting down, this is an opportunity to try and keep our community together, keep them home.”

Towards the end of his conversation with the media, Forrest casually mentioned the Prince George project represents a two billion dollar investment.

There is not a set date for when construction will start, but Forrest said preliminary studies will begin within the year.

“I am going push really hard to have those studies completed by next year,” he said. “I am going to really wind up the pressure because I am feeling a lot of local support. I am going to go back and say ‘team, this project is going straight up into the top 10.'”

You can learn more about Fortescue here.

with files from Will Peters, staff

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