Flanders earmarks €125 million for hydrogen research and innovation

Flanders earmarks €125 million for hydrogen research and innovation
Credit: Belga

The Flemish government has earmarked €125 million euros in its €4.3 billion recovery plan for research and innovation on hydrogen, the regional Minister of the Economy, Hilde Crevits, announced on Friday.

Hydrogen can be used as a raw material, fuel and energy storage solution. Its use does not generate CO2 emissions and does not pollute the atmosphere, but its production still too often requires fossil energy. In its objective of climate neutrality by 2050, the European Commission presented last July a strategy to develop cleaner hydrogen production.

In Flanders, almost all hydrogen production still requires fossil energy, thus generating a so-called "grey" hydrogen. The production of "green" (or "clean") hydrogen costs five times more, according to Crevits.

To achieve this, Flanders will switch to "blue" hydrogen - as the commission's strategy calls for - as production remains fossil-based, but most of the CO2 released is captured.

Flanders' biggest outlets for hydrogen are in the chemical and steel industries, according to Crevits. Their CO2 emissions can even be captured and reused in the production of hydrogen and then used for greening road, sea and air freight.

“Together, let us turn the lightest and smallest element in the universe into a giant leap for Flanders,” Crevits said on Twitter. “Flanders has all the assets it needs to make the hydrogen transition a reality.”

"We have the knowledge, expertise and innovative power of our world-renowned knowledge institutions and companies, our thriving ports and industry," she said in an opinion piece in Belgian weekly news magazine Knack.

Jason Spinks

The Brussels Times

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