Green hydrogen company finds Selkirk a good fit for new facility

When the Charbone Hydrogen Corporation was looking for a location to build a new facility, there were several reasons they decided that it would make sense to set up shop in Selkirk.

Charbone is a Quebec-based company that produces green hydrogen, which can be used as a fuel source but does not emit polluting gases either during combustion or during production, and this week the company announced they would build a facility that will produce and distribute green hydrogen in the city of Selkirk, north of Winnipeg.

Daniel Charette, Charbone’s Chief Operating Officer, said Selkirk was an attractive location for the new facility, and a big reason for that was because of Selkirk’s track record when it comes to finding ways and attracting projects that help in the fight against climate change.

“It’s one of the first things that attracted us to Selkirk, and one of the first things they told me is that they are working to be sustainable and they want to keep growing that, and be bringing in more green energy projects,” Charette said.

“So their vision and their goals really line up with the vision of Charbone.”

But while Selkirk’s “vision” was attractive to Charbone, Charette said it was also chosen because they see a whole lot of potential for green hydrogen customers in and around Selkirk, and also south of Selkirk in the city of Winnipeg.

In Selkirk, Charette said they are already eying Gerdau, a major steel manufacturing company in the city, that he said could benefit from green hydrogen, as a likely client.

With green hydrogen being a fuel source that can fuel large vehicles, Charette said they also see the potential in selling green hydrogen to the City of Winnipeg to be used for transit buses.

“Right now you have Winnipeg Transit that is looking to decarbonize their fleet, and that would be an ideal market for us,” he said.

Charette also sees green hydrogen being attractive to the many transportation and trucking companies based in Winnipeg, and in southern Manitoba.

“Just with the number of transportation companies you have there and with those companies also looking for ways to decarbonize, we know this would be a good option, so we see a whole lot of potential there,” he said.

Charette also believes that Selkirk is a perfect location for them to get the word out in Manitoba about green hydrogen and its environmental benefits.

“A large part of what we do is education,” Charette said. “It’s education for the public, but also education at municipal, provincial and federal levels. Charbone has given itself a mission to help people understand what green hydrogen is, and we see what we are going to build in Selkirk as a way to champion green hydrogen across Manitoba.”

— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun