Flanders invests 106,3 million euros in five hydrogen projects
The Flemish government is going to invest 106,3 million euros in five large hydrogen projects. Flemish Minister for Innovation and Economy, Hilde Crevits (CD&V), announced this on Monday.
The projects include constructing hydrogen plants to produce sustainable hydrogen, using hydrogen to make sustainable steel, or converting CO2 back into sustainable fuels.
Ports manifest themselves
Some projects involve several ports, such as the port of Zeebrugge, Ghent, and Antwerp. In the port of Ghent, for instance, North C Methanol (Engie) will produce hydrogen from renewable energy with a capacity of 63 MW. This hydrogen will, in turn, be converted into methanol, which can be used as a fuel for heavy transport.
In the port of Zeebrugge, hydrogen will be produced from wind energy by Hyoffwind. The project aims at a capacity of 25 MW, which can later be expanded to 100 MW. The North C Methanol and Hyoffwind project already resulted in direct savings of more than 100 000 tons of CO2 per year.
There is also the Power to Methanol project of a consortium of companies in the Port of Antwerp that focuses on the conversion to methanol and developing an industrial plant to make this possible on a large scale.
Another project, by ArcelorMittal in Ghent, wants to use hydrogen to produce sustainable steel and thus drastically reduce C02 emissions. This project also involves Fluxys, which builds the infrastructure for transporting hydrogen between plants within the North Sea Port area.
Finally, the Cummins project in Oevel, near Westerlo, is building the machines to produce sustainable hydrogen, namely PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) electrolyzers.
The five Flemish projects are now before the European Commission for approval. The projects are IPCEI projects, projects that serve a common European interest. The EU wants to encourage member states to combine forces and financial resources.
When the Union approves a project, it can count on more extensive state support. In other words, there is no European money involved, but there is additional support from the Member States concerned.
At the end of this or the beginning of next year, it should come clear which ones will receive approval, but, according to Minister Crevits, there is little reason to assume that they will not get the green light.
Grand ambitions in the field of sustainable hydrogen
In the next project round, another five Flemish projects will be submitted to the Commission. The ten projects together account for more than 1 billion euros in costs. Crevits also signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ with the European Investment Bank on Monday.
This is intended to strengthen Flanders’ ambition in the field of hydrogen. “With the mutual commitment that we are entering into here, we can more easily attract European funding to realize the Flemish sustainable hydrogen projects,” says Crevits.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has assigned some 550 million euros in recent years to projects related explicitly to hydrogen. It is currently working on further investments in the sector worth 1 billion euros.