A lot has changed since the 1800s, where during the industrial revolution, humanity produced carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gasses that could harm the climate. The main difference is that these effects used to be mainly local, not global as they are now. However, humanity needing energy sources to survive has not changed in these 200 years. How do we combat global warming? We could stop using electricity and gas altogether, but that is most unlikely. The solution to our problem is using green energy: Now is the time to invest in Hydrogen!
What and where is Hydrogen?
DUJAT describes Hydrogen as a fashionable energy vector due to its potential to support the transition to a decarbonized energy system required to meet the Paris Agreement’s emission reduction goals.
If there is one country doing Hydrogen justice, it is Japan. While Europe is slowly but surely starting with the Hydrogen process, Japan already produces Hydrogen domestically. Hydrogen is made from natural gas and oil and provides energy for residential buildings, experimental power plants and fuel cell vehicles. To show that Japan is the Hydrogen Nation, the First Hydrogen Olympic Games are an inspiration to follow. Now you might wonder, if Japan already uses Hydrogen to provide for heat networks, how is Europe doing at this moment?
Sander Oosterhof, Director of Foreign Direct Investment and Business Development of NV NOM, explained why the northern province of the Netherlands, Groningen, has always been crucial for energy production. The TopDutch region collects interconnected, purpose-driven and people-powered ecosystems. These ecosystems are committed to finding green and digital solutions for global economic, social and ecological changes. In other words: investment in sustainable mobility with electrification, hydrogen technologies and new infrastructures.
According to Catrinus Jepma, Professor emeritus of the University of Groningen & Senior Advisor of the New Energy Coalition, the Netherlands may not be Hydrogen’s leader but the project-planning leader. Currently, the Netherlands and Europe thrive on oil, gas, wind and sun. GasUnie provides windmill parks in the North-Sea and extensive gas infrastructure. However, the gas and oil period is ending, and what if there is not enough sun and wind to produce sufficient energy? How do you store and transport excess energy? To start answering these questions, the Paris Agreement has set up goals for 2030 and 2050 to implement Hydrogen as efficiently as possible. By 2050 the EU aims to be climate-neutral with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Europe’s Valley of Death
Europe needs to have a completely green system; this seems impossible, but 20 years ago, renewable energy was only 10%, whereas it is now 30%. Every 15 years, the goal is to improve renewable energy levels. This includes the transition from blue Hydrogen (natural gas to H2) to green Hydrogen (green gas to H2).
For Europe to move forward, governments need to get through the ‘valley of death.’ Many discussions surround renewable energy, which is not necessarily bad, but crucial decisions need to be made soon. Governments need to support industry investment initiatives in producing, transport, storing, and implementing Hydrogen. This support needs to line up with surrounding countries by, for example, launching a supporting research agenda.
The Dutch have their hands full with the Paris Agreement goals (as the Dutch would say, « Er is werk aan de winkel/There is still a lot to do »), but there are many opportunities. René Schutte, Hydrogen Program Manager of GasUnie, explained how the Netherlands has many options for current and future Hydrogen projects. He calls this the TopDutch call to action.
The Dutch (gas) infrastructure
GasUnie provides access to its system to the public. With the decrease of natural gas and the increase of green gas, CO2 needs to be reduced upfront. What the future holds can be seen in the image above:
- The Hydrogen infrastructure adjoining the natural gas/biogas infrastructure
- The increase in green gas production
- The windmill parks providing power-to-gas
- The storage and transport of CO2
- The industry cluster and heat network interconnected with the points above
« I want to invest in Hydrogen projects. What does that look like? »
There is much scaling up to do to increase renewable energy. Current phased roll-outs are implemented with a programmatic approach. These roll-outs ask for a lot of cooperation and funding between governments and industries. Luckily the interest in this Hydrogen project grows. For example, at this moment, the New Energy Coalition is working on HEAVENN: a Hydrogen Valley. International roll-out programs like these are crucial for the continuous development of Hydrogen in Europe.
Future investments make sure that not only industries but the entire world can continue to grow. We need to continue to think critically about our innovation methods. What are our long-term goals; how do our actions of today impact our future? Are you wondering how the future of your company unfolds? We would love to talk to you about it. In case you and your company are considering investments in Hydrogen, do not hesitate to contact NV NOM, the University of Groningen and/or GasUnie. Let’s go global; let’s go TopDutch!