The investigation comes as part of their H2BE project in Belgium and sees them launch a feasibility study into the technical and economic suitability of a location in Ghent in North Sea Port.
The H2BE project aims to produce hydrogen from natural gas using autothermal reforming technology (ATR) in combination with carbon capture and storage (CCS). ATR technology enables a reduction in CO2 of over 95%. The intention from both companies is that the CO2 captured will be transported in liquid form and permanently stored safely at a location beneath the North Sea.
“The H2BE project fits into our strategic plan ‘Connect 2025’ because it will speed up the transition to climate neutrality and the development of the required hydrogen and CO2 infrastructure,” said Daan Schalck, CEO of North Sea Port.
North Sea Port has laid out its ambition, aiming to become a hub in the European hydrogen network. This new production capacity could be part of the hydrogen infrastructure and pipeline network in the Ghent area in the event of expansion.
“The switch to low-CO2 hydrogen is necessary in order to be able to make the most energy-intensive clusters climate-neutral. The capture and storage of CO2 is a necessary intermediate step towards a CO2-neutral economy. The aim is to capture at least three million tons of CO2 for storage and reuse in North Sea Port by 2025,” Schalk added.
Hydrogen and CO2 are crucial to this project’s success leading to ENGIE and Equinor partnering with Fluxys Belgium. The independent operator of the natural gas transport network in Belgium will contribute to the project by putting large volumes onto the market. The H2BE project also directly links into the development of its ‘open access hydrogen and CO2 infrastructure’, connecting supply and demand in the industrial clusters in Belgium and neighbouring countries.
All partners are eager to begin work on the project well before 2030 in order to contribute to Belgium’s interim target of making its economy climate-neutral by 2030.
The Port of Rotterdam is following examples set by North Sea Port and is aiming to be another port leading the charge in renewable hydrogen production. Recently, the port signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the McGowan Government in Western Australia agreeing to collaborate on the development of the hydrogen supply chain.
Under the MoU, both parties will work together to investigate the renewable export supply chain between Western Australia and the Port of Rotterdam. This includes production, storage, transport, and the use of renewable hydrogen.