Essent will start building a hydrogen plant running on solar energy in 2022. It involves a 5MW electrolysis plant that converts sustainably generated electricity into hydrogen and residual heat.
These are then supplied to companies in the region. The new hydrogen plant is being developed in collaboration with Solinoor, a specialist in the field of solar parks. With this collaboration they are responding to the growing need for the local production and supply of green energy.
Stephan Segbers, COO of Essent: “The application of hydrogen as an energy carrier is a major step forward in the energy transition. Since 1.5 years we focus with EIS (Energy Infrastructure Solutions) on the development of cooling and heating networks and total solutions of which hydrogen is part. We believe that energy transition requires a broad, integrated approach and that hydrogen offers great opportunities for industry, horticulture and the built environment. Not just in the city, but also in more remote areas.
Producing and supplying
The hydrogen plant operates in principle on solar energy. To guarantee the continuity of the operation, Essent is investigating the possibility of falling back on wind energy in the event of a lack of sunlight. Another important point of attention is the limited transport capacity on the electricity grid, which means there is a risk that valuable, generated energy will be lost. To prevent this, the plant is equipped with a battery for temporary storage of the surplus solar power that cannot immediately be converted into hydrogen or fed back into the grid. It is the first project in the Netherlands in which a ground-based and floating solar park, batteries and an electrolyser are used for the sustainable production of hydrogen and at the same time resolve grid congestion and ensure a balanced energy network.
Opportunities for sustainability
Essent and Solinoor will also work together on possible solutions for supplying the produced hydrogen to local customers. This could be done via road transport or a direct pipeline, for example. Vahid Kharidar, director of Solinoor, sees all sorts of opportunities: “Green hydrogen is produced from sustainable electricity. Solinoor is developing solar parks throughout the Netherlands that can be used as a source of electricity for the production of hydrogen. We believe that there is always a solution for our industry to switch to 100% green energy, even when we face challenges with limited transport capacity on the grid. Essent and Solinoor go one step further and offer an integrated energy solution by using and providing different sources of green energy (solar, wind, batteries and hydrogen). Our capabilities in development, design, installation and investment fit perfectly with Essent’s role as an energy market leader. Together we have created a number of concrete opportunities to accelerate the energy transition in the Netherlands.”
Hydrogen fuel cell
Green hydrogen is an excellent alternative to natural gas because only sustainable electricity and heat are released during production, so no CO2. However, it also comes at a cost. For some companies, the step to 100% green energy is therefore very big. That is why Essent and Solinoor also provide solutions for growing step by step towards sustainable business operations. The customer can choose to switch immediately to 100% hydrogen, but can also first use a mix of hydrogen and natural gas, and only later switch completely to hydrogen. In this way we help entrepreneurs to make the transition to a green future in a responsible, controlled way.