Exploration of 'green' hydrogen in the North of The Netherlands
During a working visit to the North of The Netherlands, the possibilities of the future production and broad application of sustainable "green" hydrogen were explored.
An official delegation from the province together with representatives from the business community and knowledge institutions visited a natural gas buffer in Zuidwending. This impressive underground storage in salt caverns, deployed at times of high demand for natural gas, could also be used for large-scale storage of hydrogen in the future. In the short term, the first 'green' hydrogen will be produced at this location. The Province of Zuid-Holland and Deltalinqs, Innovation Quarter, TNO and Delft University of Technology have since met with a delegation from the Province of Groningen. Subsequently, company Holthausen demonstrated how it converts motor vehicles into hydrogen vehicles; the inspiring company is known for the conversion of a Tesla to a 'Hesla' (H = Hydrogen). It also converts vans, for which there is a market in Zuid-Holland as well.
What is 'green' hydrogen
Demineralized water can be divided into hydrogen and oxygen by means of electrolysis, as an alternative to the existing production of 'grey' hydrogen from natural gas. That 'green' hydrogen can be used as a source of energy in mobility, for space heating in buildings, in industry and as a raw material for the chemical or petrochemical industry. Hydrogen can also be converted into electricity to balance the supply and demand on the net. Hydrogen is expected to play a major part in the energy transition, to reduce the emission of CO2 in time to meet the standard of the United Nation's Paris climate agreement.
Before long, large quantities of renewable energy from wind-at-sea will be produced on the Maasvlakte in Rotterdam and the Eemshaven in Groningen. Because the energy demand and supply have not always matched, large-scale storage is necessary. This can be done in batteries, but that is expensive and less suitable for large-scale and long-term storage. An alternative is the conversion of renewable electricity in sustainable 'green' hydrogen.
On 19 June 2018, the Province of Zuid-Holland will organise a meeting in Brussels on the role of 'green' hydrogen in the energy transition. The invitees include representatives from the European Commission and European regions with similar initiatives. The working visit to the North of the Netherlands provided a good basis for this meeting, which we are preparing for together with the Province of Groningen.