Energy with myriad uses

Québec is one of the few places in the world where it is possible to produce “green” hydrogen. Hydrogen is said to be “green” when it is produced using renewable energy. 

Currently, 95% of the hydrogen consumed worldwide is said to be “gray” because it is produced from natural gas or coal. The combustion of hydrogen generates only heat and water vapour.

This versatile renewable energy shows great potential for contributing to Québec’s energy transition because it can meet several needs: production of heat, electricity, synthetic fuels and chemical products; storage of electricity; steel production, etc.

In the transportation sector, fuel cell vehicles (FCV) using hydrogen as fuel are starting to become available and offer a number of advantages: fast charging, a range of approximately 500 km and consistent performance in cold weather.

TEQ research

The numerous applications for hydrogen, together with the attention it has attracted on the international stage, inspired TEQ to add an exploration of this new sector to the Roadmap – Road transport of Québec’s Energy Transition Master Plan.

This gave rise to two main projects, which are currently under development: a testbed in the transportation sector and a study of the techno-economic potential of the hydrogen sector for Québec’s energy transition.

Hydrogen testbed in the transportation sector

In order to study the potential contribution of hydrogen to achieving the ambitious targets Québec has set for transport electrification and reductions in the use of fossil fuels, TEQ started up a pilot project (testbed) in October 2019 to study the performance of hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) in a northern climate and to increase our knowledge on the subject. More broadly, this testbed will make it possible to expand Québec’s expertise with respect to hydrogen-powered electric mobility, including the production of green hydrogen by electrolysis and its distribution.

Another goal of the project is to raise public awareness with regard to the potential of this technology and to enable the commercial deployment of FCEVs, which are eligible for grants under the Transportez Vert program designed to bolster the electrification of vehicle fleets.

This four-year pilot project targets Measure 10.4 of the Roadmap – Road transport of Québec’s Roadmap – Road transport of Québec’s Energy Transition Master Plan. It is managed in close collaboration with the Centre de gestion de l’équipement roulant (CGER) of Québec’s Ministère des Transports. 

Achievements to date

  • So far, the testbed has resulted in some fifty FCEVs being put on Québec roads as well as the construction of the first hydrogen fueling station in Québec City. The FCEVs include Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo models that were leased to institutional fleets and are equipped with instruments to collect and analyze a variety of data.

Toyota Mirai

Hyundai Nexo

  • The hydrogen fueling station, which is located on Boulevard Wilfrid-Hamel in Québec City, is fully operational and has been open to the public since October 2019. It is equipped with an electrolyzer to produce green hydrogen onsite that is used for the testbed.
  • In January 2020, TEQ launched a call for proposals for the construction of one or more new, clean hydrogen fueling stations. The results of the call for proposals will be released shortly.

Together with the testbed, a study of the techno-economic potential of the hydrogen sector was also conducted to analyze the potential of the sector with respect to Québec’s energy transition efforts.

Study of the potential of Québec’s hydrogen sector

In the wake of the work undertaken in this sector, a hydrogen steering committee composed of representatives from Transition énergétique Québec, Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles, Ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation and Hydro-Québec was established in May 2019 to exchange ideas on the future of green hydrogen in Québec and on the role of this energy vector in the energy transition.

The committee began work in July 2019, and the study will be available soon. With this analysis in hand, the government will have a realistic, objective and up-to-date picture of the techno-economic landscape and the challenges facing the hydrogen sector. This will be very useful for guiding future initiatives and government positions that will lead to the development of projects related to this sector in Québec.

The study is divided into four parts: Summary of the four parts of the study (French only)

Financial assistance and guidance

Transportez vert Program – Technology acquisition component: for the acquisition of a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle by a company, an organization or a municipality.

Technoclimat Program: for innovation projects in the hydrogen sector.

Webinar - Le potentiel de l’hydrogène décarboné dans la transition énergétique du Québec

On July 14, 2020, the main findings of a study on the techno-economic potential for the development of the hydrogen sector in Québec were presented by Transition énergétique Québec and its partners. This study was carried out by TEQ and Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles (MERN).

Listen to the webinar (French only):


  • Richard Gagnon, Coordinator – Energy Strategies, Transition énergétique Québec
  • Philippe Tanguy, Chief Executive Officer, Polytechnique Montréal
  • Jonathan Barbeau-Baril, Research Associate, Centre international de référence sur le cycle de vie des produits, procédés et services (CIRAIG)

Presentation documents (French only)

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