The Pulse: Oct. 18, 2022

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  • 20°C: Mainly sunny. High 20. UV index 2 or low. (forecast)
  • Purple/Green/White: The High Level Bridge will be lit purple, green, and white for Persons Day. (details)
  • 7pm: The Oilers (1-1-0) play the Buffalo Sabres (1-1-0) on Oct. 18 at Rogers Place. (details)

Two men in suits sit on stools surrounded by green graphics

Edmonton Global floats idea to kick-start hydrogen economy

By Karen Unland

In the next six months, Edmonton Global is looking to launch a "5,000 vehicle challenge" to build both supply and demand to feed a hydrogen economy.

The idea isn't fully fleshed out yet, said Chris McLeod, the agency's vice-president of global marketing and communications. But it starts with approaching heavy-haul trucking and global supply chain companies with an invitation: "We want to build a hydrogen economy. One of the pieces we need is to help you move quicker to your fleets being either hydrogen or hydrogen dual-fuels ... Will you commit to contracts?"

If Edmonton Global can get, say, three commitments from 30 companies, McLeod told Episode 194 of Speaking Municipally, then it can go to hydrogen-making companies like Suncor, Shell, and Air Products with another invitation: "What we need is infrastructure to fuel these trucks. We've got 90 commitments for vehicles — is this enough to de-risk building the infrastructure?"

With infrastructure commitments in hand, Edmonton Global can go back to the trucking companies and say, "OK, now you've got this, will you up your numbers to 10 vehicles each in five years?"

With that kind of back-and-forth, "we think by about 2027, we can have roughly 5,000 vehicles on the road that are either strictly hydrogen or hydrogen dual-fuel, by just convening people," McLeod said. "It's actually building a program that we don't own, but that has tons of buy-in from the trucking industry (and) the hydrogen production industry."

That's just one of Edmonton Global's hydrogen-fuelled dreams. Another is to grow the Canadian Hydrogen Convention from 4,000 attendees in its inaugural year to 8,000 in 2023 and 40,000 in five years, making it the biggest hydrogen convention in the world. Delegations from 21 different companies attended the hydrogen convention in April.

"Not only did they participate in the show, but we worked with Alberta's Industrial Heartland to give them tours around the heartland and the different facilities there," McLeod said. "We set up tours of some of the research spaces at the University of Alberta, also with the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute."

Such events are what it takes to bring the Edmonton region to the attention of a world that remains largely unaware of the opportunities here.

"We've got what the world needs. The world doesn't know it, and it kind of feels like we don't know it," McLeod said. "So I think part of our job is to kind of talk this stuff into existence in people's minds."

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Headlines: Oct. 18, 2022

By Kevin Holowack

  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi called on Premier Danielle Smith to let municipalities keep the education portion of property taxes, which would free up about $250 million to help Edmonton pay for necessary infrastructure improvements. Smith is said to have made the pledge to do so at an Alberta Municipalities conference, though a provincial spokesperson was non-committal in response to Postmedia's questions about the idea. City council is faced with a choice between raising taxes or delaying neighbourhood renewal in light of a predicted $4.7-billion gap between municipal revenue and needed infrastructure investment in the next 10 years. Even at the current pace, the Neighbourhood Renewal Program will not achieve its goal to get all neighbourhoods out of poor condition until 2038, says a report from administration.
  • The city is recruiting members of the public for its Anti-Racism Independent Body Advisory Board, which is to advise the city manager on the establishment of an independent anti-racism body. The board is part of Edmonton's broader anti-racism strategy. You can apply online until Nov. 7.
  • Edmonton reduced road fatalities by 49% between 2010 and 2020, according to a study by the International Transport Forum, an intergovernmental organization that tracked data in 32 cities. Edmonton is one of only a few cities that significantly reduced fatalities, "thanks to the implementation of robust and data-driven road safety policies," the study's authors wrote. The city nearly achieved the UN's target of a 50% reduction in road fatalities over the first Decade of Action on Road Safety.
  • It is now possible to book a flu shot and a bivalent COVID-19 booster shot at the same time for Albertans who are at least five years old. The flu vaccine is available at Alberta Health Services clinics, pharmacies, and some doctors' offices. Because the flu virus is no longer suppressed by COVID-19 restrictions, Albertans should "definitely anticipate that it will be worse than the last couple of years," said Dr. Kristin Klein of AHS.
  • Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers was named one of the NHL's three stars of the week on Oct. 17, along with Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Jake Oettinger of the Dallas Stars. McDavid got four goals and two assists in the Oilers' two opening games, notching the season's first hat trick.
Chefs Earl Briones and Levi Biddlecombe fist-bump in the kitchen

YEG Food Masters competition aims to showcase Edmonton's culinary talent

By Mack Male

The organizers of YEG Food Masters hope to show off Edmonton's culinary talent while building community and bringing people together face-to-face once again.

"COVID really isolated people, and the hospitality industry really took a major hit. We wanted to create an event around people's passion for food, building some excitement around it and bringing people together," Hifa Maleki, a partner in the El Beso and El Corazon brands in Edmonton, told Taproot. "We hope that it'll foster and build a community allowing people to re-engage and network with their peers."

The first round on Oct. 12 featured Earl Briones, chef at Carbivore Subs, and Levi Biddlecombe, chef and owner of Backstairs Burger and Tortilla Samurai.

In the end, Briones took the win. "I'm just so thankful and honoured to have the ability to look up out of the kitchen and see so many faces again," he posted.

"It was a razor-thin victory and we both agreed there is a rematch coming in the near future," Biddlecombe added. "I am so grateful to be able to do something I love with good friends and people I care about while contributing to this Edmonton food scene that has been so good to me over the years."

The competition was created by the team behind El Beso, including owner Percy Wiredu and chef Jesse Woodland. Maleki said a dinner between Woodland and Biddlecombe provided the spark for the idea.

The two worked their networks to invite chefs and seek nominations for "wildcards" — competitors who aren't professional chefs. In the first round, the wildcards were Josh Bauman and Kyle Hebert. The goal in the future is for the competition to accept applications from interested chefs.

The competition will continue on the second Wednesday of the month until a winner is crowned in June.

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