Netherlands: Research Study into Green Hydrogen and Reusing Gas Infrastructure in Drenthe

By January 5, 2020 3   min read  (492 words)

January 5, 2020 |

Hydrogen Valley in Netherlands

Enexis Netbeheer, Gasunie and NAM are conducting a feasibility study into the use of hydrogen at two former NAM locations in Emmen and Roswinkel (Drenthe). 

Combined with the on-site reinforcement of the electricity grid, this could offer room for the local generation of sustainable energy. At present, there is a shortage of transmission capacity on the network in some places.

The research examines the conditions under which it is feasible to directly convert locally generated sustainable energy into hydrogen. And whether that energy can be transported via existing gas pipelines to customers, so that this green electricity nevertheless contributes to the energy transition.

The study is part of the current initiative “Energiehub GZI-Next”, with which NAM together with various partners such as the province of Drenthe, municipality of Emmen, New Energy Coalition, EBN, Gasunie, Shell and Emmtec are investigating whether the location and pipelines of this former NAM location can play a role in accelerating the energy transition.


In (certain parts of) the northeast of the Netherlands, Enexis Netbeheer and TenneT have a shortage of capacity on the electricity grid. As a result, the power yield of any new solar parks cannot be dissipated via the electricity grid. In the same region, various large-scale users of (Groningen) natural gas are studying with Gasunie and NAM options for making their energy supply more sustainable by building a sustainable energy hub on the former gas treatment plant. Both developments come together in a new initiative that investigates the conditions under which local green electricity can be converted into green hydrogen in order to make industry and heavy mobility (for example buses or trucks running on hydrogen) more sustainable.


The research will identify the solar and wind projects for which there will soon be no place on the electricity grid. In Drenthe this concerns various projects, some of which are close to existing NAM locations. On the Dutch and German side of the border, sustainable energy projects are being confronted with an overcrowded electricity grid around the NAM Roswinkel location. In this study, Enexis Netbeheer, Gasunie and NAM investigate three options for reducing congestion and increasing the amount of renewable energy by:

  1. Strengthening the electricity network.
  2. Local green hydrogen production at the NAM Roswinkel location, where renewable energy is generated.
  3. Central green hydrogen production at the NAM GZI location in Emmen, near the hydrogen consumers.

The feasibility study is being conducted by DNV-GL. Different scenarios are elaborated, for example whether the electrolyser, which converts sustainable electricity into hydrogen, can best be connected to an electricity grid or at the place where sustainable generation takes place – with a smart combination of wind and solar parks.

The feasibility study will also have to show the optimum power of the electrolyser, if any, in view of the currently planned renewable energy projects. An electrolyser with a capacity of 20 MW to 50 MW is envisaged. The first results are expected to be shared by mid-January 2020.


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