Dutch want green hydrogen corridor from Spain, parliament raises questions

“Spain is the sun, the air, the water, and the capital of renewable energy in the world.” A three-day international conference on renewable energy and how Europe can produce it independently began on Monday in Madrid. The nation is on track to surpass Russia as the continent’s top producer of green hydrogen. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez boasts, “Even from the world.”

Spain exports hydrogen to Europe, boosting the likelihood that Europe will be free of Russian gas. A purpose of Minister Rob Jetten’s (Climate and Energy, D66) trip to Madrid was to reach agreements with Spanish counterparts for a potential corredor verde, a pathway for green hydrogen from Spain to the north of Europe. Jetten traveled to Madrid with Dutch businesses Shell, Tata Steel, and Gasunie.

Even if we meet our most ambitious objectives, it would not be enough to make the entire Dutch sector more environmentally friendly, the minister in Madrid claims. “We want to generate green hydrogen ourselves in the Netherlands. The Netherlands wants to concentrate heavily on offshore wind projects. This enables the generation of electricity, which is required to electrolyze water to produce the energy carrier hydrogen (see inset).

Yet, the conflict in Ukraine highlighted how reliant on fossil fuels the nation is. The energy transition has hastened as a result. Thus, the Netherlands also purchases energy from abroad.

The Dutch government already entered into partnerships with other nations that produce hydrogen, such as Namibia, Chile, and Oman, last year. Jetten: “The fact that Spain is close by and can end up being our most crucial partner is fantastic. The Netherlands is in an excellent starting position to get hydrogen from Spain to the Netherlands because of the port of Rotterdam and all the infrastructure.”

The largest hydrogen production facility in Europe is located in Puertollano, a city midway between Madrid and southern Malaga. Spain invested 150 million euros to construct the factory over the course of 18 months. The sixteen machines that must manufacture the hydrogen are housed in a room roughly the size of a gymnasium, where 20 megawatts per day—enough to produce 8.5 tons of hydrogen—are produced. According to Jorge Palomar Herrero, CEO of Iberdrola, the firm that produces green hydrogen, “to give you an idea: two of these machines can produce enough hydrogen every day to fuel a hundred buses.” Iberdrola is a leader in green hydrogen with about sixty projects across the globe.

Wearing a safety helmet and a bright vest, Minister Jetten and the rest of the Dutch delegation are guided through the industrial park. “We’ve made a significant step in this direction, but we’re not quite there. With this capacity, we truly can’t supply green energy to everyone “Palomar Herrero gestures at the black water tank that is utilized in the production of green hydrogen.

Parks that would eventually manufacture hydrogen will also be built in other locations over the following three years. The Netherlands is eager to assist.

A new “green” energy route has been agreed upon by France, Spain, and Portugal.
Currently operating in 40 nations, Iberdrola employs close to 40,000 people. Currently, 5,500 more are being added. The business specializes in solar energy systems, electric mobility, gas, and energy efficiency. The net profit for the previous year was €3.1 billion.

In three years, ships powered by hydrogen will be able to travel to the Netherlands, according to Iberdrola and the Spanish oil company Cepsa. On Monday, Cepsa secured a contract to provide green ammonia to a terminal in the port of Rotterdam with three Dutch businesses (Vopak, Gasunie, and HES International). Green hydrogen is transported and stored using the harmful material ammonia, but much work needs to be done before it can be delivered to the Netherlands. For instance, the safety requirements for holding significant amounts of ammonia are not met by Dutch ports. The antiquated policies in place can result in dangerous events.

“In terms of ships, port logistics, and safety, there is still a lot to be done. Security services must be prepared to handle incidents. Nevertheless, there is still more work to be done “Minister Jetten argues. So, there is still work to be done before the product from Puertollano arrives in the port of Rotterdam. Yet the forces can be united if they work together with Spain. “With regard to laws and regulations, we have made significant progress, and our ports are now more prepared. For instance, Spain falls significantly behind the rest of Europe in terms of certification. Cooperation is essential for the flow of information and resources because of this “the minister declares.

The Ministry of Climate and Energy does not want to stay in Madrid. Together with Spain, Portugal is working to establish itself as a significant exporter. Jetten will therefore travel there in June to sign contracts that will increase the Netherlands’ dependence on fossil fuels.

Parliamentary questions and answers about hydrogen:

1. Do you know about the perilous hydrogen adventure that the Netherlands has begun?

Answer: Yes

2. Is it true that hydrogen producers bet on a purity level of 99.5 or above but that the consulting firms KIWA and DNV have a minimum requirement to propose a level of 98%?

Answer: The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK) commissioned Kiwa and DNV to write an advice study on the standards for hydrogen purity last year. They suggest establishing a 98% (mol%) minimum purity standard as a starting point. Three years after the hydrogen network has been operational, Kiwa and DNV advise evaluating the standards. The end of 2022 saw the beginning of a market consultation by EZK regarding the findings and advice from Kiwa and DNV. As adjustments incur additional costs, many respondents indicate that discontinuing support is an adjustment after a period of years. Companies must already take action and assess their investment plans if there are any modifications to the standards. Thus, 99.5% purity or above is preferred by the vast majority of respondents. Other businesses make the case for lower purity or state that they are still investigating the purity they can provide. The future grid operator HNS (a Gasunie subsidiary) has said that it has a 99.5% purity guarantee. The consultation has given me insightful cues that I consider while making quality-related decisions.

3. Could you clarify the reason for this misunderstanding between consulting firms and hydrogen producers?

Answer: The recommendations from Kiwa and DNV are to first set a minimum purity percentage of 98%, examine it a few years later, and maybe increase it. In that regard, there is no difference in realizing that a greater minimum value is ideal over the long run, while Kiwa and DNV advise working toward this over time. In the long run, purity is ideal, and the quality requirements can therefore be raised. They demand a greater minimum. In line with this prediction, the proportion of electrolysis (green hydrogen with high purity from the Directorate-General for Climate and Energy, DGKE/26425861) in the production of hydrogen is growing. Over the past few years, more information has also become available regarding transportation, storage, and the potential for cleaning hydrogen.

4. What do you think about hydrogen manufacturers’ claims that if the minimum purity standard is set at 98%, expenditures in purification facilities will be necessary to transport green hydrogen? What effects will it have on green hydrogen costs, network user system expenses, demand for green hydrogen, and the introduction of green hydrogen in the Netherlands?

Answer: Hydrogen is created with very high purity using electrolysis. Electrolysis project developers claim that there is a market for highly pure hydrogen. As a result, these parties favor a hydrogen network that meets the strictest standards for purity. On the other hand, with a relatively high lower limit of the degree of purity of certain hydrogen producers (blue hydrogen) and import terminals have to purify more compared to a purity of 98% and therefore have to incur more costs to be able to feed into the grid. Customers who want to use pure hydrogen do not have to incur fewer (purification) costs if the minimum degree of purity is higher. Hence, relative cost savings for the usage of green hydrogen as compared to blue hydrogen and imported hydrogen are achieved by setting a high lower limit for the minimum purity.

5. Who will be responsible for paying for the upkeep of these treatment facilities? Where exactly do they wind up in the chain?

Answer: These are manufacturers of less pure hydrogen who must cover the expenditures of purification facilities due to the relatively high purity requirement. being ultimately focused on customers

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