The Hague — The provinces of Groningen, Drenthe, and Friesland in the north of the Netherlands are to become the Silicon Valley of the hydrogen economy.
The European Commission has now released 20 million euros in subsidies for setting up the “Hydrogen Valley”, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs said.
Together with € 70 million from public-private partnerships, the six-year development project will provide around € 90 million in resources. The sponsor is the research consortium “HEAVENN” under the direction of the University of Groningen. It comprises 31 members from six European countries, including Akzo Nobel, Gasunie, Engie and EWE Gasspeicher. The driver of the project is the Groningen-based “New Energy Coalition”, an association of representatives from science, industry, and politics who are committed to an intelligent energy transition.
The three provinces take on pioneering work to build a sustainable energy supply, said Economy Minister Eric Wiebes. As gas production in Groningen ends in 2022, creating a regional hydrogen economy creates new opportunities and jobs. The various projects covered the entire value chain, from the supply of basic materials to industry through storage and transport to energy and heat supply and hydrogen mobility.
Hydrogen pipelines, for example, are to connect Delfzijl Chemical Park and Emmen Industrial Park with the site of the former gas processing plant (GZI) in Emmen, where the construction of a hydrogen factory is planned.
Pipelines, storage, gas stations and a barge
For the start-up phase of the hydrogen cooperation project, five electrolysers will be in the order of magnitude of 1 to 100 MW by 2024.
In the following years, ambitious plans for industrial scaling up to 850 and 1,000 MW are being pursued.
The project also includes projects for the production of blue hydrogen, which is being decarbonised using CCS technology, such as Equinor and Gasunie in Eemshaven.
An underground storage facility for hydrogen is to be built as part of the “HyStock” project in Veendam.
Projects to use the energy source in the heat supply of apartments and industrial plants are planned in Hoogeveen, Groningen, Delfzijl, and Emmen.
The existing filling station network is to be expanded for use as fuel for public transport, freight traffic, and cars. The construction of a hydrogen-powered barge and the production of e-kerosene for air traffic are also planned.