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Consumers in the Markham area of Southern Ontario will soon be receiving a little hydrogen to go with the natural gas they use to fuel their furnaces and hot water heaters.

Enbridge Gas Inc. and partner Cummins Inc. say they will proceed with a $5.2-million pilot project next year to blend hydrogen from their facility in Markham into part of the existing natural gas network.

The facility, commissioned in 2018, uses excess renewable electricity from the Ontario grid to make hydrogen from water and store it. Burning hydrogen produces only water without any greenhouse gases.

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Enbridge Gas, a subsidiary of Calgary-based Enbridge Inc., says the project was approved in October by the Ontario Energy Board.

It says it will initially provide a maximum hydrogen content of up to 2 per cent of the natural gas stream supplied to about 3,600 customers in Markham in the third quarter.

It says customers' bills will not be affected.

“Zero-carbon hydrogen can play a role in Ontario’s shift to lower-carbon, sustainable energy solutions and is an important example of investments Enbridge is making across multiple markets to green the natural gas grid while continuing to meet the demand for safe, reliable and affordable energy,” said Cynthia Hansen, Enbridge president of gas distribution and storage.

The company recently announced it would reduce its GHG emissions intensity to net zero by 2050 and by 35 per cent by 2030 compared with 2018.

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