The municipality of Groningen and the German city of Hamburg are eager to move forward with green hydrogen by working together. Through bundling their respective expertise and technology, “the south coast of the North Sea” could become a leading hydrogen region in Europe.
Translation by Hans de Preter
A German delegation led by Hamburg’s economic affairs, traffic and innovation minister Michael Westhagemann paid a visit to Groningen this week to discuss the challenges of the energy transition in general and the opportunities presented by green hydrogen in particular.
According to a press release from the municipality of Groningen, both cities see opportunities to reduce CO2emissions and promote their economies by investing in green hydrogen, which is hydrogen produced from green (or sustainable) sources. By joining forces, the so-called “south coast of the North Sea” could further develop as the green hydrogen region.
The northern Netherlands has become something of a hub for hydrogen and its associated uses. In Hoogezand, Holthausen is a leading supplier of hydrogen-powered transportation, from cars to rubbish trucks. Resato in Assen is a producer of filling stations for a hydrogen infrastructure, whilst Bakaert (also in Assen) has created a hydrogen burner for home heating.
Economies of scale
These ambitions arise from the conviction that wind farms in the North Sea will become the most important energy source for northwest Europe and that green hydrogen will play an important role. Both Hamburg and Groningen are well placed to take the lead in these developments.
“Hamburg has taken the initiative in developing a hydrogen strategy together with Bremen, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein,” said Minister Westhagemann. “We are looking for similar initiatives to share knowledge and achieve economies of scale. Groningen and the Northern Netherlands are a perfect fit. ”
Due to Hamburg’s larger size, the German city is also facing a bigger challenge with the energy transition to more sustainable sources, but outgoing Groningen mayor Peter den Oudsten says that Groningen and Hamburg are comparable in terms of infrastructure and expertise. “We are at the forefront of projects, plans and investments to develop the hydrogen economy,” Den Oudsten says.
In the press release, alderperson for economic affairs Paul de Rook says, “Northern Germany and the Northern Netherlands form the southern coast of the North Sea that will supply a large part of Europe with sustainable energy in the future. We need coordination and cooperation to jointly benefit from this clean energy source so that we can simultaneously reduce CO2 and strengthen our economies.”
In a recent episode of our podcast Econ 050, we sat down with professor Ad van Wijk, one of the main architects behind an extremely ambitious plan to convert the northern Netherlands into a green hydrogen hub, from production to distribution and transportation – but how plausible are those plans, and how much will they cost? Check out the episode here to find out more about what this up-and-coming energy carrier could mean for the north.
Photo source: Municipality of Groningen