Zuid-Holland part of ‘Roadmap Green Hydrogen Economy’

The members of the Energy Innovation Board Zuid-Holland conclude that the green hydrogen economy is important to Zuid-Holland and that cooperation in this field is essential. This regards the cooperation within Zuid-Holland and with a similar initiative in the northern Netherlands.

The cooperation is taking shape in a 'Roadmap Green Hydrogen Economy'. Both Port-industrial Complex Rotterdam and Energy Island offer suitable locations for research into electro-chemical conversion and storage techniques and for up-scaling to conversion parks.

A green hydrogen economy is all about using electricity from, in particular, wind parks at sea to split water into hydrogen and oxygen on an industrial scale. This sustainable, 'green’ hydrogen can be used as a raw material for the chemical industry, as energy carrier for vehicles, or as an alternative for natural gas to heat buildings, and reduces the use of oil, coal and gas. That can save a lot of CO2-emissions in the air, and thus combats climate change.

Conversion's role in energy transition

This energy-innovation is particularly interesting, because wind and solar energy cannot always be used at the time of generation, and at the moment, storing it in batteries is only possible on a small scale and at great cost. The storage of a surplus of sustainable electricity via conversion into energy carriers such as hydrogen, ammonia, formic acid and methanol could contribute substantially to the solution of this problem. Green ammonia, for instance, could be used as a raw material for fertilizer, or formic acid as fuel for cars.

Northern-Netherlands and the Port of Rotterdam

Guest speaker Professor Ad van Wijk of the TU Delft gave a presentation on this new economy during the Board meeting. Last Thursday, Van Wijk also did that in the House of Representatives, in a delegation of the Northern Innovation Board, specifically for the situation in the Northern Netherlands. The Members of Parliament indicated that any investment decisions had to be taken at the level of the whole of The Netherlands, during which the Northern Netherlands and the Port of Rotterdam would be considered in conjunction. "The national government, the regional authorities and the industry have to cooperate well. Just as the buyers of green hydrogen: the industry, the mobility, the built environment and the imbalance market for electricity", stated Ad van Wijk.

During the Board meeting, in anticipation of this, promising projects in the Port of Rotterdam and the nearby ‘Energy Island’ Goeree-Overflakkee were identified, that fit the green hydrogen economy's line of reasoning perfectly. For instance, the large-scale production of green hydrogen and the development of a regional Field Lab to promote the electrification of the chemical industry in the harbour. "Regional connection of a national innovation programme such as VoltaChem could then ensure by means of a Field Lab that the reflection of the new technology and business model in the industrial practice is accelerated", Martijn de Graaff ofTNO adds.

Good opportunities for cooperation

The members of the Board have jointly concluded that the green hydrogen economy is important to Zuid-Holland and that cooperation is essential, within Zuid-Holland as well is with Northern-Netherlands. It will be achieved in a ‘Roadmap Green Hydrogen Economy’. This links seamlessly with the preparation of the 'Hydrogen Covenant' on the supply and demand chain of green hydrogen. That covenant is being drafted by order of the Province of Zuid-Holland, mediated by the former state secretary Steven van Eijck. Van Eijck was a guest at the Board as well. "I mediate in the formation of a covenant, in which the interested parties express their commitment to balancing the supply and demand of green hydrogen. I call on the Energy Innovation Board Zuid-Holland to commit to this covenant, which we will sign at the beginning of December 2017 during the sustainability festival on Goeree-Overflakkee." Han Weber, Regional Minister of the Province and Chairman of the EIBoard: "Good to see that industry and the municipality of Goeree-Overflakkee are submitting their own specific projects to accelerate the energy transition. We face the challenge to explain the advantages of, for instance, hydrogen to the residents of Zuid-Holland besides those of electric cars." Alderman Brandligt Of the Municipality of Delft adds: "Using the party lines, aldermen can address members of parliament and the new government members regarding the opportunities of the green hydrogen economy. And we must submit the opportunities to the ‘Heat Table (Warmtetafel)’ so that hydrogen will play a part in rendering the built environment free of gas."