Port of Antwerp-Bruges at the center of Belgium’s federal hydrogen plan revision

During a visit to the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Alexander De Croo, the prime minister of Belgium, suggested changing the federal hydrogen policy of the nation.

The proposed change, which calls for the creation of a federal hydrogen council, is in line with the government’s overarching energy goal of meeting the European Union’s climate neutrality target. In order for Belgium to achieve its goal of becoming Europe’s hydrogen hub, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges’ strategy and projects for the importation, production, and throughput of green hydrogen make it a crucial role.

Study offers fresh perceptions

The shift to 100% renewable energy and climate neutrality is being aided by the government hydrogen plan, which was authorized late last year. A crucial component of this shift and a crucial link in a long-term sustainable and reliable energy system is hydrogen. Belgium has to produce substantial amounts of renewable hydrogen, which is produced locally but will mostly need to be imported in big numbers, in addition to renewable power in order to achieve carbon neutrality. The positioning of Belgium as an import and transit center for green hydrogen in Europe is one of the strategies objectives.

The review is based on several suggestions from a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study that polled several industries. Highlights in particular included the introduction of a federal hydrogen council with WaterstofNet and Cluster TWEED as chairs and the import of hydrogen.

In the middle of Europe, Belgium is situated at a crossroads for energy and in the center of numerous significant industrial clusters. The nation has all the resources necessary to establish itself as Western Europe’s hydrogen hub thanks to its strategic port locations, the knowledge of creative businesses, research institutes, and educational institutions, as well as its existing infrastructure and industry. The Port of Antwerp-Bruges, a major international port, envisions a significant role for itself in the import, domestic production, processing, and throughput of green hydrogen and hydrogen carriers (such ammonia and methanol) to the hinterland.

Increasing capacity

Belgium doesn’t have enough land to independently create the necessary amounts of green hydrogen. Therefore, green hydrogen and hydrogen carriers from areas with ample sunlight, wind, and space will need to be imported to complement local production. The port of Antwerp-Bruges will experience an increase in capacity starting in 2026 as it prepares to welcome the first green hydrogen molecules on its platform.

The hydrogen import coalition was established by the Port of Antwerp-Bruges in collaboration with five significant business and governmental stakeholders: DEME, Engie, Exmar, Fluxys, and WaterstofNet, in order to enhance its position. To get this hydrogen chain going, partnerships with numerous exporting regions have also been developed. Several Belgian businesses are now working on international hydrogen export projects.

At both port locations, the port is working to increase terminal capacity for both current and future hydrogen carriers. A network of hydrogen pipelines that will link ports to German and Belgian industrial districts by 2028 is also being funded by the government.

Locally produced

The port platforms in Zeebrugge and Antwerp will also have local manufacture. Due to the existence of wind farms and natural gas infrastructure, Zeebrugge makes a perfect location for a plant to produce green hydrogen. This facility, which goes by the name of HyoffWind, was built by Fluxys and Eoly. Additionally, the circular hotspot NextGen District in Antwerp will house a green hydrogen generation facility constructed by the American company Plug. Here, its proximity to Europe’s largest chemical cluster is crucial.