Estevan could see futuristic industries come to town as the Southeast TechHub (SETH) unveiled its Innovation Centre for Energy Development proposals.

The TechHub is working on five different projects - a hydrogen hub, a solar-powered data center, an organic chemistry lab, a microgrid, and a 3-year proposal.

These proposals would look for investments from companies from the United States to set up in Estevan. 

Gordon More, the executive director for the SETH, explained that there's still a ton of work to be done on those proposals, but two had advanced to being able to be shown off to the public.

The hydrogen hub would be a fueling resource for the southeast, producing hydrogen fuel from the area's existing coal mines.

Moore says that the negative to creating hydrogen fuel can be counteracted as Estevan is in a unique position for this project thanks to its work with carbon capture systems at Boundary Dam.

"When you do that, you create carbon dioxide. That carbon dioxide in their process comes out as a liquid. Why is that good for us? Well, because we're the first place in the world that created CCS on a coal plant. That means we have the infrastructure to handle that. Not only that, it's not just Boundary, it's the whole system that goes all the way up to Weyburn and connects with Whitecap for enhanced oil recovery."

"So we have commercial off-takers, people who want to buy this stuff. So they can deal with the carbon dioxide. They've run our process and our coal through a place down at the University of Chicago that is authorized to say what is green hydrogen and it passed. It passes green hydrogen, so that makes it extremely valuable in the world right now."

The other presented proposal was a solar-powered data centre, which would use both solar power and natural gas.

More says that he's seen companies that use data centres prioritize lowering emissions, pointing at Amazon recently buying a nuclear reactor to power some of their own.

Servers storing data could have a large competitive advantage in Estevan if they use methods that save on energy usage, such as solar power.

"We all know, especially in our community, that the price of electricity is about to go up because there's so much change happening, who's going to pay for it."

"When you're running a data centre, your biggest cost is electricity. So they're looking at an average increase of two around 24 cents a kilowatt hour in the United States on average through all the states, so they need to control that cost. So if you put that together, you're seeing data centres doing things such as the solar-powered data centre."

The natural gas baseload power could also work with a CCS system to further lower emissions and incentivize a company.

The two projects together would be worth about $6 billion from those company's investments, with More stressing that these aren't going to happen tomorrow and may take place years from now.

Last night's event saw a crowd of Estevan residents gather to learn about the proposals.

"What I really enjoyed about this is when I looked out and I was speaking, I saw people from oil and gas, I saw coal miners there, I saw people from businesses there, and I just saw the general public just wanting," said More, "It was really good to see so many people from all parts of our community there listening and the questions were very informed, very smart, very good."

More hopes that people will take the time to consider the proposals, as Estevan could see a boom from some of the proposed ideas.

"We're looking down a gun where in 5-10 years we could lose a third of our population. We need to create a space in our community where people such as myself or anyone else who has a good idea feels comfortable to stand on a stage and present it to the community, we need to be debating in a healthy way the ideas, but not the person."

More says that he has more proposals and ideas that he's working on and is excited to show the community in the future.

You can watch the full ICED proposal event on the YouTube video below.