Up to 70 companies are participating in this large scale project. The Port of Rotterdam, together with the cluster of maritime companies operating there, the national government and other public companies, will work towards the goal of supplying Europe with hydrogen on an annual basis with a sustained quantity. The European objectives of slowing down climate change, becoming energy independent and making a profit and creating wealth from this would be closer to being achieved.
The work carried out by all these institutions would generate a concrete and specific plan to achieve the continent’s three objectives. Thus, the current target for hydrogen production and imports would be increased. Thus, REPowerEU envisages a four-fold increase in the Fit for 55 package (from 5.6 Mt to 20 Mt). This amount of hydrogen would lead to sustainability in European society in the areas of fuel for transporting raw materials. As a rule of thumb, 1Mt of hydrogen reduces carbon emissions by 10 Mt. Therefore, with the plan to supply 4.6 Mt of hydrogen annually, 46 Mt of CO₂ would be avoided by 2030.
To achieve this, all these institutions and companies have three plans to tackle:
Several of the cluster companies are working on projects that will develop large-scale electrolytic hydrogen production. This production would come from the North Sea Power Hub, which is expected to be launched between 2024 and 2026.
Together, all the projects would generate 2.5 GW of hydrogen by electrolysis by 2030 and 0.25 Mt of green hydrogen. Work is also underway to source low-carbon hydrogen from gas refineries. This would mean a total of 0.6 Mt of hydrogen to be produced locally.
Imports to the port of Rotterdam
Despite this, energy imports would be necessary. Europe currently does not have the capacity to produce enough renewable energy for the two key dates of 2030 and 2050.
The sooner the import of gas, coal and oil is replaced by the import of green or low-carbon energy, the sooner energy independence will be achieved.
Green hydrogen is produced in places where there is abundant sunlight, air and plenty of space for infrastructure. This puts the target on southern Europe, North Africa, Australia and Latin America. Keeping the supply chain running requires supply from several sites. Import projects would add up to 4 Mt by 2030.
For the stated objective, a specialised infrastructure is required to connect southern Europe and sunny areas to the northern part of Europe where it is to be distributed. From the port of Rotterdam, pipelines will be created to carry it and create a supply chain for the whole of Europe both by sea and by land. The chemical, steel and cement industries require this hydrogen, as well as fuel and bunkering stations.
The two conditions that guarantee the success of the project are as follows
The first is that the certification of imported green hydrogen must be done in Europe. It must be guaranteed that this hydrogen comes from renewable sources and does not cause CO₂ emissions into the atmosphere. Secondly, the use of low-carbon energy should be phased out in favour of green energy in order to achieve energy neutrality. Hydrogen and other alternative fuels are the solution.
The Rotterdam Port Authority’s proposal
The more than 70 companies in conjunction with institutions and governments must work together to accelerate the development of a hydrogen economy in Rotterdam and Northern Europe. Efforts should be directed at all parts of the production chain mentioned above. It is estimated to be able to distribute 4.6 Mt of hydrogen by 2030 to follow the stipulated plan. The port as well as the joint venture companies and partners must make a very active contribution and the collaboration of the entire European Union is essential to reach the ambitious targets set.