Akzo Nobel Specialty Chemicals and Gasunie New Energy have joined forces to investigate the possible large scale conversion of electricity into hydrogen via the electrolysis of water.
Amsterdam/The Netherlands — Intended for Delfzijl in the Netherlands, the installation would use a 20 MW water electrolysis unit, the largest in Europe, to convert sustainably produced electricity into 3,000 tons of hydrogen per year. A final decision on the project is expected in 2019.
So far, the largest planned electrolysis unit in the Netherlands has a capacity of one megawatt. The eventual aim is to be able to build installations that convert and store sustainable energy in the form of hydrogen on an even larger scale (more than 100 MW).
The required expertise for this project includes gas transport and storage, electrolysis and handling of hydrogen. Both companies announced that they intend to play an active role in the transition to a CO2-neutral economy, and the project is in line with their respective initiatives in renewable energy — including hydrogen.
"Achieving the Netherlands' CO2 reduction targets and the corresponding transition in the energy system will be a huge challenge," said Ulco Vermeulen, member of Gasunie's Executive Board. "To make sure we have enough hydrogen in 2030, we will need to take steps now to validate the technology at different scales."
The company sees 'power to gas' not only as a promising technology, but also as one that will be necessary to achieve a fully sustainable energy mix by 2050. Hydrogen also plays a crucial role in achieving the emission reduction target set by the Dutch government for 2030, i.e., a reduction of CO2 emissions by 49 % compared to 1990.
"The vast majority of the more than 800,000 tons of hydrogen used by Dutch industry each year is produced using natural gas. Replacing this by sustainably produced hydrogen will reduce CO2 emissions by seven million tons. However, the real potential is in large-scale production as the basis for green chemistry," added Marcel Galjee, Energy Director at Akzo Nobel Specialty Chemicals:
Both companies agree that the northern part of the Netherlands is perfectly positioned to develop a green hydrogen economy, due to the large-scale production and import of green electricity, the existing chemical industry, the current gas transmission infrastructure, the knowledge infrastructure and the support within the Northern Innovation Board.