Canada is set to join the H2Global double-sided auction scheme (see factbox below), originally launched by Germany to facilitate imports of green hydrogen to decarbonise its industries, the two countries announced during a trade visit to Hamburg by Canadian energy and natural resources minister Jonathan Wilkinson.

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Wilkinson has hinted that details, including how much government funding will be put towards the next scheme and the exact mechanics, will be outlined within 90 days, according to reporting by Bloomberg.

Canada had previously committed to send Germany volumes of hydrogen as early as 2025. However, Wilkinson struck a more cautious note in the most recent trade mission, suggesting that H2 exports would likely take place in late 2025 or the following year.

The Canadian federal government has in recent months agreed loans of more than $120m to two different green hydrogen projects, Nujio’qonik in Newfoundland and Point Tupper in Nova Scotia, both of which are due to start production next year.

However, neither have yet taken a final investment decision, with some uncertainty around how volumes of green ammonia will be exported without firm offtake agreements or infrastructure in place.

H2Global’s double-sided auction mechanism

Hintco auctions ten-year purchase agreements for hydrogen or its derivatives from suppliers, who competitively bid to offer the lowest possible price.

H2 buyers then bid for sales agreements from the state intermediary company, with the difference in buy and sell prices covered by government funding.

The first three H2Global auctions for imports of green ammonia, methanol and e-SAF respectively are currently evaluating bids, with deliveries from winners expected by the end of 2024.

“We welcome the progress in Canada in the development of several renewable hydrogen and ammonia projects,” said German deputy chancellor Robert Habeck, who is also minister of economics and climate protection. “Although some challenges remain, we believe a common H2Global financing window can play an important role in closing the remaining pricing gap.”

Hydrogen Insight has reached out to Hintco — the company managing the H2Global auctions — to confirm whether any Canadian companies have already bid into the first auction for German imports, the winners of which are expected to be announced by June this year at the latest.

However, the companies awarded the ten-year ammonia supply contracts in that tender are likely to face an extremely tight deadline to deliver hydrogen this year or early 2025, as required.

Earlier this year, Hintco confirmed to Hydrogen Insight that Australia, another potential green hydrogen exporter, is considering jointly funding a €400m ($436m) auction that would send Australian H2 to Germany.

The city government of Japan’s capital Tokyo last month signed a cooperation agreement with Hintco, although an auction has not been scheduled. Similarly, the auction intermediary has indicated that it is discussing potential options for the Japanese national government, the UAE, and Austria to join the programme.

Separately, Hamburg-headquartered energy firm Mabanaft, which is planning its own NH3 import terminal with Air Products as an anchor customer, has today signed a letter of intent with US developer Pattern Energy for a 400 tonnes-a-day green ammonia project at Port Argentia in Newfoundland and Labrador to supply the German firm — which is mulling a stake in the facility — from 2027.