On Wednesday morning, Dutch King Willem-Alexander ceremonially opened the HyStock facility in Veendam – the plant is capable of producing hydrogen, which could eventually become a large-scale substitute for natural gas.
The facility, which is in the province of Groningen, is part of Gasunie and will eventually be able to create green hydrogen. The Groninger Internet Courant reports that the Veendam plant will use 1 Megawatt of electricity from sustainable sources, such as solar power, to create hydrogen, thus making it green.
Hydrogen can be used as an energy carrier for a ride range of applications, from car and train batteries to an industrial feedstock to in-home heating. RTV Noord writes that green hydrogen can be stored in large quantities in underground salt caverns, such as the ones in Zuidwening where the new plant will be located. The caverns in Groningen are owned by EnergyStock, which in turn is owned by Gasunie.
Across the north, academic and industrial entities have been ramping up and rolling out hydrogen-related projects in recent years. The Energy Transition Centre (EnTranCe) on the Zernike campus is spending one million euros on green hydrogen development research, and Hoogezand-based gas company Holthausen received a four-million-euro subsidy in 2018 to build green hydrogen filling stations in Groningen and Amsterdam. Groningen Seaports is planning to install a pipeline to transport hydrogen gas in Eemshaven and Delfzijl, and the Drone Hub at Groningen Airport Eelde has been experimenting with hydrogen as a way to extend the flight range of unmanned aircraft.
Will the future of the energy industry in Groningen revolve around hydrogen? How plausible – and affordable – is it for use as a large-scale energy carrier? On the latest episode of Econ 050, we hear from professor Ad van Wijk, one of The Netherlands’ preeminent experts on applications of green hydrogen, about what it could mean for the north to become a hydrogen-based economy.
Photo source: Groninger Internet Courant