Energizing the Hydrogen Transition in the Edmonton Region

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About the 2023 Hydrogen Summit

On February 7, 2023, the Edmonton Region Hydrogen HUB and Forward/Slash brought together key decision-makers from industry, government, economic development, and civil society for a one-day summit celebrating the region’s momentum and setting the agenda for the year to come.

We’d like to thank all of the staff, volunteers, panelists, participants, funders and partners who made the summit such an overwhelming success. The response to this event exceeded our highest expectations, and we couldn’t ask for a more clear example of the passion and excitement that’s building around the hydrogen economy and the opportunities it presents.

Read on for descriptions of the day’s panels, downloads of slide presentations, notes from the breakout sessions, and more — and we’ll see you at the Canadian Hydrogen Convention this April!

All photos by Kelsey McMillan 

Session Details and Slides

Mainstage Panels

Panel 1: Leading Regional Initiatives

The Edmonton region spent 2022 laying the groundwork for innovative new hydrogen projects. That hard work is now paying off, with cutting-edge pilot initiatives now launching in Edmonton, Strathcona County, and beyond. Get the inside scoop on the hydrogen-powered buses, heavy-duty trucks, and heating infrastructure projects making their way to the region in 2023.  


  • Moderator: Carolina Calderon (PrairiesCan)
  • Eddie Robar (City of Edmonton)
  • Greg Caldwell (ATCO)
  • Trevor Van Egmond (AMTA)
  • Darrell Reid (Strathcona County)
Panel 2: Global Updates

With the global market estimated to top $11 trillion by 2050, it’s no surprise that other regions are also trying to seize the hydrogen opportunity. Hydrogen champions from the Edmonton region have been watching these developments and are ready to lay out the challenges and opportunities facing our region in the global landscape. 


  • Moderator: Brent Lakeman (Edmonton Global)
  • Barbra Korol (Alberta Energy)
  • Michele Evans (Prairies Canada)
  • Mark Plamondon (Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association)


Panel 3: Commercialization Opportunities

With so many opportunities emerging in hydrogen, knowing where to seek funding and how to stand out is an increasingly critical part of moving plans forward. This session will include details on government funding programs, along with opportunities for private investment.


  • Moderator: Kelsey Brooks (Natural Resources Canada)
  • Justin Riemer (ERA)
  • Barbara McKenzie (Metis Settlement Development Corp)
  • David Van Den Assem (H2 Centre of Excellence)
  • Catherine Warren (Edmonton Unlimited)
  • Dinara Millington (The Transition Accelerator)
Panel 4: Pitch Session

Discover the next generation of hydrogen technologies from the people and companies that are working to make them a reality. This fast-paced session will see representatives from emerging innovators present their ideas to a panel of experienced investment and venture capital professionals. Get ready for a glimpse of the future.


  • Moderator: Zack Storms
  • Andrew Gillis (Aurora Hydrogen)
  • Rebecca Goldsack (Diesel Tech Industries)
  • Natasha Kostenuk (Ayrton Energy)
  • Mike Hooper (HiFi Engineering)
  • Denis Wiart (ONEC)

Breakout Sessions

Breakout 1: Transportation Tech

Heavy-duty transport will be one of the first sectors to see the benefits of emerging hydrogen technology. With hydrogen-diesel dual fuel vehicles and heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell vehicles now hitting the streets in the Edmonton region, now is the time to discover how this emission-free fuel technology can power your net-zero future.

This panel gave attendees the opportunity to discuss transportation technology with representatives from the firms that are leading the way in bringing this technology to Alberta’s roads. The practical aspects of hydrogen-fuelled transportation technology dominated the discussion, with questions about refueling times, charging infrastructure, comparative costs, and the impact of hydrogen technology on weight distribution in the trucks.

This grounded approach shows how hydrogen has transitioned from a theoretical technology to something much more concrete. It also shows the importance of the trial projects discussed in other breakouts, which are set to provide the data that transportation professionals need to make informed decisions about their hydrogen future.


  • Breakout Lead: Eddie Robar (City of Edmonton)
  • Jessica Verhagen (Hydra Energy)
  • Corey Riley, Jorg Wimbert (Nikola)
  • Cory Shumaker (Hyzon Motors)
  • Chad Sadowy (New Flyer)
Breakout 2: Building Heat Demand

Alberta needs to decarbonize its heating systems, and hydrogen has the potential to be a powerful tool for reaching net-zero emissions. This breakout went into details on the blending projects leading the way towards an expanded role for hydrogen in the building heating space, and asked attendees what more needs to be done to advance hydrogen demand.

The two chief issues facing building head demand are, understandably, cost and effectiveness. Attendees wanted more details about the levelized cost of heating with hydrogen, but even more importantly they want to know that hydrogen is safe and effective at heating, that hydrogen blending is compatible with current infrastructure, and that it contributes to real reductions in greenhouse emissions. More effort on understanding and communicating these facts


  • Breakout lead: Greg Caldwell (ATCO)
Breakout 3: AMTA Hydrogen Commercial Vehicle Demonstrations

The Alberta Motor Transport Association’s Hydrogen Commercial Vehicle Demonstration Program will give transportation professionals the opportunity to get hands-on experience with the newest technology in hydrogen-powered heavy-duty transportation. This event provided a preview of the program before its official announcement on February 10, 2023, including details and sneek-peeks of the vehicles and providers that will be part of the demonstrations.

The first of its kind in Canada, this two-year program will collect and evaluate data concerning the performance of hydrogen-fueled vehicles on Alberta roads, payloads, and weather conditions. It will also address challenges around fuel cell reliability, infrastructure, and vehicle cost and maintenance. For more details on the Hydrogen Commercial Vehicle Demonstration Program, visit the FAQ at AMTA.ca.


Breakout Lead: Terri Johnson (AMTA)

Breakout 4: Infrastructure and the Policy Environment

Download Hydrogen Roadmap – Executive Summary

Download Hydrogen Roadmap – Full Report

One of the biggest hurdles to building the prosperous, zero-emission world of tomorrow is working with yesterday’s infrastructure and policies. This breakout session looked into the barriers and challenges to advancing hydrogen projects, offering suggestions on how we can overcome them in time.

Discussion on this panel was robust and varied, showcasing the wealth of hydrogen expertise at the Summit. The conversation roamed from hydrogen production—including the role of hydrogen produced from electrolysis and from renewable fuels in Alberta’s hydrogen strategy—to distribution, questioning the balance of pipelines, rail transport, and energy carriers such as ammonia in the future hydrogen ecosystem. Concerns arose about the slow speed of policy compared to the need for rapid, systemic transformation, noting that the responsible path forward is one that emphasizes caution and a safety-first mindset.

Incentives, subsidies, and carbon pricing all had a place in the converation, and attendees shared that they’ve found government—and especially municipal government—to be supportive of a hydrogen economy. There is growing knowledge of the opportunity and alignment of interests between government, communities, and industry, all of which bodes well for navigating these challenges.


Breakout Lead: Mark Plamondon (Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association)

Breakout 5: The 5,000 Vehicle Challenge

It’s easier to reach a destination when there are signposts pointing the way. Edmonton Global’s 5,000 Vehicle Challenge is meant to provide a vision for accelerating hydrogen vehicle adoption in the region, along with the targets we’ll need to aim for along the way. 

While details of the 5,000 Vehicle Challenge are still being finalized, this panel was a chance to provide input and understand the thinking behind the ambitious figure. That target is based on a number of factors, balancing estimates of adoption rates and fleet sizes with the need to create and scale up hydrogen infrastructure, and the need to reach a critical mass to make it economically sustainable.

Beyond the fuelling infrastructure and the HD transportation companies and fleets needed to reach the goal, the Challenge is also looking at needs outside of the hydrogen sector. Technicians, first responders, and other occupations will need to be trained on safe handling of hydrogen vehicles, and monitoring will be needed to ensure the vehicles work for end users and for the environment.

Complex as that all is, a target is a major first step, and the Summit audience appears up for the challenge.


  • Breakout Lead: Brent Lakeman (Edmonton Global)
  • Trevor Van Egmond, Terri Johnson (AMTA)
  • David Van Den Assem (Alberta Innovates)
  • Jessica Verhagen (Hydra Energy)
  • Corey Riley, Jorg Wimbert (Nikola)
  • Cory Shumaker (Hyzon Motors)
  • Chad Sadowy (New Flyer)
Breakout 6: Hydrogen Awareness

Change comes through advocacy and effort. Like any emerging technology, hydrogen needs champions to push for advancing it in our businesses, networks, and communities. Our final breakout session looked at ways to establish hydrogen as a credible, capable, and compelling tool for building a prosperous future in a post-emission world.

Several audience members commented that the most basic issue is lack of awareness overall. The news focuses on EVs, and rarely discusses other non-emitting technologies, meaning that people outside of the hydrogen industry are simply unaware of the role hydrogen could play in the transportation landscape. When hydrogen is brought up, safety concerns are often at the forefront—even though older technologies like diesel engines have their own safety concerns that are rarely foregrounded in the same way.

Outside models were suggested as ways to manage both safety and awareness. An audience member noted California’s strong safety track record and strict safety regulations as examples of ways to reassure the public, and the panel agreed that concrete actions and examples were more useful than simply insisting that hydrogen is safe.

Awareness, trust, and transparency were key themes. As more projects take place and more data is collected, there will be more opportunities to show the vital role hydrogen can play in a net-zero future.


  • Breakout Lead: Chris McLeod (Edmonton Global)
  • Grace Meikle (Emissions Reduction Alberta)
  • Kelsey Brooks (Natural Resources Canada)

Opening Remarks

Chief George Arcand Jr.

Chief George Arcand Jr.

Alexander Cree First Nation

“The hydrogen economy presents the rare opportunity to imagine and build a new system—one that takes advantage of our region’s skills and knowledge, and provides prosperity and good jobs, but also incorporates long-term thinking and genuine collaboration from the very beginning.”

The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi

The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi

Mayor of Edmonton

“I believe that the Edmonton Region is the place to be if you want to build the world’s next clean energy evolution. Our region has an unmatched mix of experience, talent, and ambition to lead the world into a green economy.”


Kelsey Brooks

Policy Analyst
Natural Resources Canada

Greg Caldwell

Director, Utility Hydrogen Strategy

Carolina Calderon

Director, Policy, Planning
and External Relations
Prairies Economic Development Canada

Michele Evans

Assistant Deputy Minister, Alberta Region
Prairies Canada

Terri Johnson

Senior Coordinator, Innovation
Alberta Motor Transport Association

Barbra Korol

Executive Director,
Natural Gas Strategy & Engagement
Alberta Energy

Brent Lakeman

Director, Hydrogen Initiative
Edmonton Global

Mark Lea-Wilson

Hydrogen HUB Lead
Edmonton Region Hydrogen HUB

Reegan McCullough

County Commissioner
Sturgeon County

Barbara McKenzie

Chief Executive Officer
Metis Settlement Development Corp.

Chris McLeod

VP, Global Marketing
& Communications
Edmonton Global

Kristina Milke

General Partner
Sprout VC

Dinara Millington

Western Network Lead
The Transition Accelerator

Dale Nally

Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction
Government of Alberta

Mark Plamondon

Executive Director
Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association

Darrell Reid

Chief Administrative Officer
Strathcona County

Justin Riemer

Technology Strategy Lead,
Chief Executive Officer
Emissions Reduction Alberta

Eddie Robar

Branch Manager,
Fleet & Facility Services
City of Edmonton

Cory Shumaker

Head of Business Development,
Hyzon Motors

Grant Sprague

Deputy Minister
Alberta Energy

Zack Storms

Startup TNT

Dave Van Den Assem

Director, Clean Technology
Alberta Innovates

Trevor Van Egmond

Senior Manager,
Industrial Advancement
Alberta Motor Transport Association

Jessica Verhagen

Hydra Energy

Catherine Warren

Chief Executive Officer
Edmonton Unlimited


Hunter Cardinal

Hunter Cardinal

Director of Story, Naheyawin

Hunter Cardinal is a sakāwithiniwak (Woodland Cree) storyteller and performer from the Sucker Creek Cree First Nation in northern Alberta. In his role as Director of Story at Naheyawin, a storytelling and education social enterprise based in amiskwacîwâskahikan (or Edmonton, Alberta), Hunter endeavours to help all those he works with to understand their place in the vast story of creation in order to realize their personal power.

In 2018, Hunter was recognized by Vue Weekly as Edmonton’s Best Actor and was awarded a place in Edmonton’s esteemed Top 40 Under 40. In early 2019, his first play, Lake of the Strangers, co-written with his sister and co-produced with Fringe Theatre, premiered to critical and popular acclaim.

When he isn’t welcoming people into ancient worldviews and ways of being, he can be found baking artisanal bread or adapting his favourite songs to the mandolin.


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