Ulco Vermeulen (Gasunie) sees a great future for hydrogen

When it comes to the supply and transportation of molecular energy in the Netherlands, Ulco Vermeulen is a spider in the net.

He envisions a bright future for hydrogen as a member of the Gasunie Board of Directors and a key participant in several forums discussing the long-term sustainability of gas usage. When will we notice this in our nation, and how will we notice it?

Ulco Vermeulen elaborates on Gasunie’s role in the energy transition in an interview with Sustainably Built. Vermeulen is particularly interested in the possibilities presented by hydrogen.

“One concern is whether hydrogen will become an economically feasible choice,” says Vermeulen. You can consider a variety of options, but it must be a compelling business case. Transport and storage are not the most difficult nor the most expensive issues. There are two issues with ‘green’, so-called clean hydrogen: power conversion and electrolysis. That procedure is still in the early stages of its life cycle, and it should cost a lot less.

For this aim, a one-megawatt facility is located in Veendam. According to the announcements, the power is about 200 megawatts or perhaps a gigawatt. All of this is fantastic, but those installations were never built. Nonetheless, we estimate that in the next ten years, half to three-quarters of the expenditures will be removed. To acquire a handle on the process, it’s a question of scaling up and going through cycles. All of this cannot be accomplished in three months, but neither is it required to take twenty years. As a result, everyone is certain that the cost of electrolysis will plummet.”

“That’s the power supply: how much does electricity cost?” Solar and wind energy have grown significantly less expensive in recent years and will continue to do so in the future. As a result, renewable power is getting more economical, although it is frequently produced in inconvenient locations, such as the Sahara, or at inconvenient times. Then the number of hours of sunlight does not equal the number of hours of use.

But that, too, will come together shortly, since the instant power can be converted into hydrogen, it becomes time and location independent. The dilemma of time and location vanishes when an electron is converted into a molecule. Because many nations perceive significant export prospects, this explains the international interest. Chile, the Middle East, North Africa, Namibia, and Australia are just a few of the places we’ve been. All places that get a lot of sun during the day and a lot of wind at night have a lot of potentials.

Regionally, the advancements affect hydrogen manufacturing in Europe, which is fueled by energy generated by wind farms. The other trend is worldwide, with manufacturing taking place in hotter climates. It is critical to developing a worldwide universal distribution system. The Netherlands is in a terrific position in this circumstance. We are situated on the shallow North Sea, which is perfect for producing hydrogen at a low cost using power generated by large-scale wind farms. We also have a comprehensive (natural) gas transportation infrastructure that may be utilized for hydrogen, as well as a logistics hub for a vast hinterland. We can bring together global and regional components for hydrogen distribution like the Netherlands. “It’s something no one else can do.”

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