‘Green hydrogen is the alternative for natural gas’
In a letter to the Dutch Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate the northern provinces of the Netherlands and the big employers over there claim that “green hydrogen is the alternative for natural gas from Groningen. The government has to start the transition to this durable energy source as soon as possible.”
The gas won in the vicinity of Groningen is causing a lot of troubles lately, even potential (small) earthquakes. That’s why these gas fields have to be closed as soon as possible. Alternatives are gas from Russia or the use of hydrogen.
In their letter the northern provinces emit a preference for hydrogen: “Hydrogen has no CO2 footprint and can replace natural gas in many ways, in the industry, for transport and mobility and for heating houses.”
“The quickest way to abandon gas from Groningen is to buy Russian gas. Unlike the Dutch gas, this gas is of the high calorific value type, so installations have to be adapted.
“These adaptations are comparable to the ones necessary for hydrogen”, says Ad van Wijk, professor Future Energy Systems at TU Delft. “Hydrogen is a better alternative than the Russian gas because we have to reduce CO2 emissions, which can’t be done with the latter.”
Production of hydrogen
The northern part of the Netherlands has high hopes for hydrogen being a motor for economic growth and additional jobs. The area is suited for windmills at sea because of the long periods of strong winds. The production of hydrogen can also be done with green electricity delivered by Norway or Denmark.
In the neighbourhood of Eemshaven an artificial island could be built, close to the offshore windmill parks, where hydrogen is produced and transported throughout the Netherlands via existing pipelines, which only have to be slightly adapted.
20% of energy loss
The production of (green) hydrogen is fairly costly and you lose 20% of the energy (of windmills or solar panels) in the process. Wouldn’t it be better to use the green electricity directly? “If you can use it directly and on the spot, yes, if you have to store or transport the energy, than hydrogen is the solution”, adds van Wijk.
“Hydrogen is the missing link. If we can use it as an energy transporter, we can produce green energy where it is the cheapest. Sun power in the deserts for example, wind power at sea. Thanks to hydrogen there will be a world market for green and durable energy”, he concludes.