The Pulse: May 10, 2024

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  • 27°C: Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud late in the afternoon. Wind becoming west 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High 27. UV index 6 or high. (forecast)
  • Pink: The High Level Bridge will be lit pink for Love You Mama, an annual Mother's Day celebration event at West Edmonton Mall. (details)
  • 8pm: The Edmonton Oilers play the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena for Game 2 of the second round of the NHL playoffs. (details)
  • 7:30pm, May 12: The Oilers host the Canucks at Rogers Place for Game 3 of the second round of the NHL playoffs. (details)

A person in an industrial uniform reading "InnoTech Alberta" and "Chris" operates lab equipment.

Canada's first hydrogen quality testing centre opens in Edmonton

By Colin Gallant

InnoTech Alberta's new Hydrogen Quality Centre at Edmonton Research Park can test for impurities better than any other lab in Canada, meaning industry can now validate its hydrogen for fuel cells much closer to home.

"We can measure and detect various types of impurities that are specified in global specification for fuel-cell grade hydrogen," Martin Huard, the hydrogen lead at InnoTech told Taproot. "That's really the most difficult standard to test to, because the levels of impurities in hydrogen for that application are very, very low."

Huard said the region has produced hydrogen at a massive scale for decades for uses in petrochemical refining and fertilizer production. But now, producing fuel-cell grade hydrogen is promising for the region's economy because of its commercial applications for vehicles.

"What we're seeing in recent years is many companies in the Edmonton region … start to produce, supply, and use hydrogen specifically for fuel cells in vehicles, locomotives generators, and other applications," Huard said. "The tricky part is that when hydrogen is used in fuel-cell devices, it has to meet very stringent global quality standards, with very low levels of impurities to prevent fuel cells from being damaged or degrading their performance."

He also said this is useful for the local industry because it previously had to ship hydrogen to California or New Jersey for tests at this level. Having a local option should make testing cheaper and faster. Huard said it should help prevent hydrogen from becoming more expensive.

InnoTech received $600,000 through its parent company Alberta Innovates's Hydrogen Centre of Excellence arm to create the centre. The decision was made in April 2022 and the investment was made in summer 2023. Innotech also got in-kind equipment contributions from PerkinElmer. The centre uses advanced, custom-modified scientific equipment for chemical processes that identify impurities. To get technical, that includes gas chromatographs and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to find halogens that dilute hydrogen's purity.

"We expect in coming years, private commercial labs will likely start providing this kind of service as well," Huard said. "We're here to transfer knowledge to them as we gain experience running the test methods that go with this equipment."

Even though Huard's team is operating at the highest testing level in the country, he's already identified "gaps and deficiencies" that centre employees will work to improve.

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Headlines: May 10, 2024

By Kevin Holowack and Mariam Ibrahim

  • The City of Edmonton announced the 2024 opening schedule for its outdoor swimming pools. The Queen Elizabeth Outdoor Pool will open on May 18, the Fred Broadstock Outdoor Pool will open May 25, and the Borden Natural Swimming Pool and the Wîhkwêntôwin Outdoor Pool (formerly the Oliver Outdoor Pool) will both open in June. The Mill Creek Outdoor Pool is scheduled to open this summer after four years of rehabilitation work. Meanwhile, the fountain at City Hall Plaza will open May 18, with Splash Day on May 25.
  • University LRT Station and Government Centre LRT Station will be closed from May 18-20 to accommodate planned track repairs. Replacement buses will run every 7-8 minutes from stops marked with signs indicating "LRT Replacement." The stations will be closed from the beginning of service on May 18 to the end of service on May 20.
  • The Outloud Foundation, an 2SLGBTQ+ resource centre and hub in St. Albert, announced it has ended operations, effective immediately, amid financial difficulties. On its website, the organization said it has helped more than 1,000 youth and families since opening in 2014, offering resources such as counselling and inclusion training. St. Albert Mayor Cathy Heron told CBC the closure was a surprise to council.
  • CBC explored some perspectives on the City of Edmonton's single-use item bylaw after Calgary city council voted earlier this week to repeal a similar bylaw. Premier Danielle Smith posted on X in support of Calgary council's decision, while Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said people become more supportive of the bylaw once they learn the benefits of reducing single-use items. Sean Stepchuk, co-founder of Waste Free Edmonton, said Edmontonians have adapted to the change, and there is no desire from administration or council to repeal it. A survey last fall showed Edmontonians have mixed views on the bylaw, with 55% finding it reasonable and 45% finding it unreasonable.
  • The City of Edmonton launched an interactive dashboard to share progress on its Economic Action Plan goals. The dashboard includes information that can be used by business owners and policymakers, such as data about employment and business counts, investment, tech talent, and the economic impact of major events. "Comparative data showcases Edmonton's economy as growing, vibrant and inclusive," the City said in a release.
  • SPILT Zero Proof, Edmonton's first alcohol-free cocktail bar, is set to open within the next few weeks at 11909 Jasper Avenue. Co-founder JoAnne Pearce said it will also operate as a retail store and bottle shop, selling its product by the glass, offering classes, and hosting tasting events. "We strive to cater to sober folks who have been under-served by the industry so far, but also to provide a unique experience for all Edmontonians, regardless of whether they drink alcohol," said Pearce.
  • Police say five people were attacked by two dogs in Meadowlark Park in Edmonton on May 9. Two were teenagers, and three were adults that tried to intervene, police said. All but one of the victims were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and the dogs were seized by bylaw officers. Police provided no information about the owners of the dogs or potential charges.
  • Protesters have set up an encampment in support of Palestine at the University of Alberta, demanding the institution disclose and divest from its investments in Israel. More than 100 students, staff, and supporters were gathered at the university's main quad, setting up tents displaying signs in solidarity with Gaza. Similar encampments have been set up at universities across North America. An organizer told CBC the encampment has been served with two eviction notices, and in a public statement on May 9, U of A president Bill Flanagan said university leadership is in "open and ongoing communication" with the protesters.
  • Edmonton Police Service data shows Edmonton had a 19% drop in the number of shootings investigated by police so far this year compared to the same period last year. "The overall year to date decreases from last year leaves us optimistic that our concentrated efforts on gun crime are making a difference," said Staff Sgt. Eric Stewart with the police guns and gangs section.
  • Former Edmonton Fire Rescue Services chief Joe Zatylny has taken an emergency director role with the Alberta government. "As the fire chief for a large urban centre for a number of years, he was the most qualified candidate for the job," a government spokesperson said. Zatylny became Edmonton's fire chief in 2020 and resigned earlier this month.
  • Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch confirmed that forwards Leon Draisaitl and Adam Henrique may be absent during Game 2 against the Vancouver Canucks on May 10. Both players are "day to day" with undisclosed injuries, Knoblauch said. Draisaitl, who has the second-highest number of points across six playoff games next to Connor McDavid, did not appear at practice on May 9 after the team's 5-4 loss against the Canucks on May 8.
  • The Alberta government introduced Bill 21, which would give it the power to command the response to local emergencies like forest fires, flood, and drought. The bill also proposes to move Alberta's general election date from May to October, which the province says would prevent cabinet members from needing to deal with natural emergencies during an election period. Premier Danielle Smith said the measures were requested by municipalities that said the province has been too slow to react to natural disasters. Alberta Municipalities president Tyler Gandam said he wasn't aware of any municipality that asked the province to take control of emergency responses, and Rural Municipalities of Alberta president Paul McLauchlin said members were surprised by the centralization of decision-making.
A title card that reads Taproot Edmonton Calendar:

Happenings: May 10-12, 2024

By Debbi Serafinchon

Here are some events happening this weekend in the Edmonton area.

And here are some upcoming events to keep in mind:

Visit the beta version of the Taproot Edmonton Calendar for many more events in the Edmonton region.