Once a bit-part player in Europe’s transition to sustainable energy, hydrogen is now set to perform a significant role.
Randolf Weterings, Manager of Electrification and Hydrogen at the Port of Rotterdam, talks to DSS about why collaboration, knowledge-sharing and combining old and new industry expertise are essential to becoming a major hydrogen hub.
Q: Hydrogen’s role as a sustainable energy option is growing. What is the Port’s current and planned ambitions on sustainable energy?
Randolf Weterings: We currently supply approximately 14% of Europe’s energy supply. More than 90% of the energy that comes into the Port travels to different destinations, so it was vital for us to assess future volume expectations by conducting a study with as many of our customers, clients and partners as possible. It was clear from this that sustainability and energy efficiency were key expectations and that future demand requirements would mean approximately 20 million tonnes of hydrogen flowing through the Port by 2050. Our capacity to generate this locally is limited to 10%, so our vision is that 90% of hydrogen needs will be imported. At the same time, we are working with partners and introducing initiatives that will ensure the Port is carbon neutral by 2050.
Q: What steps is the Port taking to achieve its vision of becoming a major hydrogen hub, and what have been the key challenges?
Randolf Weterings: It’s an ambitious programme, so it was essential to break it down into different manageable projects and timelines. For example, one of our focal points is to have a hydrogen backbone in place in the port area by 2024. That pipeline is necessary to connect electrolysis plants with offtakers. Once this infrastructure is there, you can add import terminal to the system etc. You’re trying to organise a whole value chain at the same time, but elements like a common carrier pipeline are more important to get started than a trading platform A fast growth of production, imports and offtake will help drive down costs. But we have to remember that this is complex and unknown territory, so some challenges have not yet been encountered. In terms of raising finance, building partnerships, social implications and the regulatory landscape, it’s a whole new world for everyone. Read full article