Hydrogen: major players to tackle storage issues to help reach Belgian emmission goals

Hydrogen: major players to tackle storage issues to help reach Belgian emmission goals
A liquid hydrogen storage tank. Credit: Wikipedia

Seven major companies have signed a collaboration agreement for the transport of hydrogen around the world, they announced on Friday. 

This element – which can play an important role in achieving an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 – can be produced domestically from resources like natural gas, coal, solar energy, wind, and biomass.

The storage of hydrogen energy occurs through a process where a surplus of energy created by renewables during low energy demand periods is used to power electrolysis, a process in which an electrical current is passed through a chemical solution in order to separate hydrogen.

Deme, Engie, Exmar, Fluxys, the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge and WaterstofNet have all agreed to carry out a study aiming to develop concrete projects for the production, shipping transport and storage of hydrogen.

As Belgium does not yet produce enough wind or solar energy, some of the renewable energy must, therefore, be imported, explained the seven companies. This is made more difficult by the specific know-how required for the import, transport and storage of hydrogen. 

It is for this reason that the major industrial players and public authorities have decided to join forces, combining their respective know-how in order to take an essential step towards a Belgian hydrogen economy.

 “In the coming years, we will witness a gigantic development of renewable energies, wind, solar, tidal energy… The challenge is, therefore, to transport and store green energy in large quantities. This is where the port of Zeebrugge comes in as a multifunctional hub, ” explained Joachim Coens, Managing Director of the port. 

“If hydrogen proves to be a solution for energy transport and storage, this activity can be carried out perfectly in Zeebrugge, with its excellent infrastructure, storage capacity and pipelines, not to mention its many years of experience,” Coens added.

The analysis of the seven companies will then provide them with a roadmap on how best to transport hydrogen to its various users in the energy and chemicals sector. The results are expected within about a year and will form the basis for concrete projects.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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