Duisport and the Port of Rotterdam have announced a critical milestone in their ongoing partnership. The collaboration aims to solidify their leadership in the development of hydrogen transport chains across Europe.
A jointly commissioned feasibility study underscores the pivotal role these ports play in addressing the surging demand for hydrogen and its derivatives while fostering cooperation among policymakers, industry stakeholders, and emerging players in the hydrogen market.
OCI Global, a Dutch industry leader in ammonia, methanol, and hydrogen production, is at the forefront of this strategic alliance. Together with Duisport and the Port of Rotterdam, OCI Global is showcasing the already-existing hydrogen corridor linking these ports. This corridor stands ready to meet the increasing demand for low-carbon and renewable hydrogen in the Ruhr region’s industrial cluster.
OCI Global and the Port of Rotterdam have a well-established partnership with a focus on decarbonization initiatives. OCI Global operates the sole ammonia import terminal in the Port of Rotterdam and is set to triple its throughput capacity to meet the rising demand for ammonia, particularly as a clean fuel in industries like steel production. Moreover, OCI operates a methanol import terminal and has recently unveiled plans for green methanol projects, including the world’s first dual-fuel green methanol-powered bunker barge in collaboration with Unibarge and green methanol supply agreements with X-Press Feeder Lines for their newly constructed methanol-powered vessels.
OCI Global’s green methanol refueling of an A.P. Moller–Maersk container ship in the Port of Rotterdam last month marked a significant milestone in the transition to cleaner marine fuels.
A Growing Appetite for Hydrogen and Methanol
The feasibility study underscores North Rhine-Westphalia’s expected demand for low-carbon hydrogen, projected to reach over 2045 million tonnes per year by 2035. The demand for methanol is also set to surge, exceeding 2.5 million tonnes per year. In response, Duisport and the Port of Rotterdam are actively bridging the gap between policy and industry, aiming to align supply and demand, catalyze essential investments, and secure subsidies when necessary. They receive valuable support from the hydrogen initiative “Hy.Region.Rhein.Ruhr e.V.,” co-founded by Duisport and now joined by the Port of Rotterdam.
Infrastructure Expansion: Pipelines, Waterways, and Rail Transport
To accommodate this anticipated demand, adequate land and infrastructure expansion are crucial. The feasibility study emphasizes the completion of the first hydrogen pipeline connecting the two ports by 2027 to serve the growing demand for green hydrogen in North Rhine-Westphalia. This initial pipeline will be followed by pipelines for hydrogen derivatives and CO2 exports. Inland waterway and rail transport will continue to be vital components in kickstarting the hydrogen supply chains and facilitating initial imports. The study suggests that multiple hydrogen pipelines will eventually be required to meet North Rhine-Westphalia’s demand and extend the network further.
Building on Decades of Connectivity
The Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest seaport, and Duisport, the world’s largest inland port, have long been interconnected through rail, barge, truck, and pipeline connections. Their collaborative efforts have expanded in recent years, focusing on digitization and energy transition to explore the possibilities of transporting green hydrogen, methanol, and ammonia.
Both ports are actively investing in building the necessary infrastructure to support the burgeoning hydrogen economy. Duisport recently announced plans for a tank container warehouse powered by green energy sources and a tank farm for liquid renewable fuels and raw materials like ammonia. Furthermore, a hydrogen electrolysis plant for local green hydrogen production is slated to begin operations in mid-2025.
In conjunction with the city of Duisburg and the Essen power plant, the region’s first hydrogen training center is under construction. By 2025, this facility will equip a workforce with the skills needed to support the growing demand across the entire hydrogen value chain.
Several hydrogen import terminal projects and local hydrogen production initiatives are already underway in the Port of Rotterdam. These include the expansion of OCI Global’s ammonia terminal and Shell’s construction of a 200 MW electrolyzer for green hydrogen production. The Port of Rotterdam has allocated space for multiple electrolyzers to convert wind energy from the North Sea into green hydrogen. Additionally, the transmission system operator Gasunie has committed to investing in the national hydrogen network, with construction set to commence in Rotterdam.