The Hydrogen Stream: More hydrogen for the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp

Australia and Chile are both granting funds to green hydrogen projects and Denmark is exempting pilot power-to-gas projects from complying with its energy legislation. Furthermore, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP is working to find solutions for private customers to produce hydrogen.

French industrial gas company Air Liquide, Belgian compressed natural gas supplier DATS 24 and the Port of Antwerp are working to deploy 300 hydrogen-powered trucks and the related renewable hydrogen production infrastructure in Belgium as part of the HyTrucks initiative. “This project aims at enabling in total 1,000 hydrogen-powered zero-emission trucks on the roads and building the adequate infrastructure connecting Belgium, the Netherlands and western Germany by 2025,” reads a note released on Thursday by Europe’s second-largest port. The plan includes a first network of 25 high-capacity hydrogen stations connecting Antwerp, Rotterdam, and the Ruhr metropolitan area (Duisburg). DATS 24 currently has one hydrogen station in Belgium; Air Liquide is making investments in hydrogen assets in South Africa, and Taiwan. “We are convinced of the pivotal role that hydrogen will play in the energy transition, especially for heavy-duty applications,” said Diederick Luijten, Vice President Hydrogen Energy Europe for Air Liquide.

German steel companies thyssenkrupp Steel and HKM teamed up with the Port of Rotterdam to set up international supply chains for hydrogen to be used in steel production instead of coal. The two steel companies have been traditionally importing coal, iron ore, and other raw materials, transporting them from their own terminal in Rotterdam to their blast furnaces in Duisburg via inland barges and rail. “The Port of Rotterdam is already investigating the import of hydrogen from a large number of countries and regions all over the world,” reads a note released by the Port of Rotterdam on Tuesday. The biggest European port is betting on green and blue hydrogen. “Rotterdam is also setting up a carbon transport and storage system, Porthos, which is also being considered as a CO2 storage site for the production of blue hydrogen.”

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) conditionally approved three projects under its Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round, which was increased from an initial AUD 70 million (€45.1 million) to over AUD 100 million. The aim is to fund projects to decrease costs and reach “H2 under $2” – the threshold to make green hydrogen commercially attractive. Engie Renewables Australia has been awarded AUD 42.5 million for a 10 MW electrolyzer project with Yara Pilbara Fertilisers in Karratha, Western Australia. In this case, the renewable hydrogen should be converted into ammonia for export. Australian Gas Networks Limited (AGIG) has been awarded AUD 32.1 million for a gas blending project with a 10 MW electrolyzer at AGIG’s Murray Valley Hydrogen Park in Wodonga, Victoria. ATCO Australia has also been conditionally approved for AUD 28.7 million. The project in midwest Western Australia includes a 10 MW electrolyzer project for a gas blending project.

Fundación Chile, a public-private organization meant to support Chile’s energy transition, is raising money to invest in green hydrogen projects that are two to three years away from being profitable. According to its website, the launch is planned for next year, with the aim of investing in 12 to 15 companies. Fundación Chile will focus on raising money from potential buyers, such as mining companies. Currently, around 30 projects have been identified. The goal is to demonstrate that they can operate at competitive prices.

French automotive supplier Plastic Omnium signed a technological partnership with McPhy, a specialist in hydrogen production and distribution equipment, to collaborate on filling protocols and interfaces between hydrogen stations and high-pressure tanks. “This technological collaboration will in particular aim to improve the performance and connectivity of high-pressure vessels, by analyzing and mining the data generated by the interface at the filling station,” reads the note released on Thursday.

The Danish Energy Agency has granted permission to two power-to-X (PtX) specialists for the development of innovative projects which will be exempt from the country’s energy legislation. The decision is part of an upcoming pilot scheme to support new clean energy technologies, including green hydrogen. GreenLab is developing an industrial and energy park in which the renewable electricity produced will then be used for several PtX facilities, including green hydrogen production. Brande Brint is setting up a green hydrogen production facility in partnership with Spanish power electronics specialist Gamesa, a unit of German conglomerate Siemens. The project at Siemens’ Danish headquarters in Brande, western Denmark, includes a 3 MW wind power plant and a 400 kW electrolyzer.

A team of researchers at PIK Potsdam underlined the risks related to hydrogen, saying that the gas should be used in sectors such as aviation or industrial processes that cannot be electrified. “Universally relying on hydrogen-based fuels instead and keeping combustion technologies threatens to lock in a further fossil fuel dependency and greenhouse gas emissions,” reads a note released on Wednesday by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK Potsdam). According to lead author Falko Ueckerdt, hydrogen should be used in a restricted number of sectors: long-distance aviation, feedstocks in chemical production, steel production “and potentially some high-temperature industrial processes”.

Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP is working to find solutions for private customers to produce hydrogen. “The intention is to design the wind turbine small enough to allow private individuals to have a system like this in their garden,” said Holger Seidlitz, Head of Polymer Materials and Composite PYCO research at the Fraunhofer IAP. “The hydrogen will be generated in-situ in a small electrolyzer and stored in the tank. It can then, for example, drive a fuel cell inside the house that produces heat and power at the same time. And owners of hydrogen-powered cars will, in the future, be able to refuel their vehicle at home.” Fraunhofer IAP has recently acquired an industrial 3D printer to make a plastic mold for producing their rotors for weak winds.

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