Rapidly growing ecosystem
So, there are a lot of hydrogen-related activities in the Rotterdam region. That is also reflected in the dynamic and rapidly growing hydrogen ecosystem, in which an effective triple helix, or partnerships between companies, local and region government organisations and academic institutions, is very visible.
Mare talks about the ecosystem enthusiastically: “The hydrogen ecosystem in Rotterdam already partially exists, due to years of experience with grey hydrogen. Here you will find diverse, big international players with a wealth of experience. The two most important developments we are currently engaged in are the conversion to green hydrogen and the upscaling of hydrogen activities. The Port of Rotterdam Authority plays a key role in promoting the developments in this field. This is an important role because they can attract, bind and activate government organisations and investors via their very strong and extensive international network. Big international companies also play a crucial role. Take Shell, for example. With their investment in a new hydrogen factory, the Holland Hydrogen I on the Maasvlakte, they are showing that this is where it’s really happening. Such investments are crucial for the development of our ecosystem. But because hydrogen also has many challenges, like the high price of production, the use of drinking water in the process and the development of standards, a lot of innovation is required. It is therefore good that we have start-ups and scale-ups which are making serious traction in this. Battolyser Systems and Zepp.solutions are two great examples. Battolyser makes flexible storage capacity for renewable energy (a battery) combined with flexible hydrogen production (electrolyser). This is really unique. Zepp.solutions has an innovative fuel cell which makes the use of hydrogen more accessible for many applications with great potential for the transport sector (trucks, aircraft). Such companies need flexible locations where they can grow fast, experiment and start up the first production runs. We are therefore building a campus, where the ecosystem can achieve this and come together. On the Climate Campus of Platform Zero, together with the Port of Rotterdam Authority, the municipality of Rotterdam and H2Makers (Hydrogen Competence Center), they are working on test, prototype and maker space facilities, so that new technologies can be developed and tested. This is also a location where big companies, start-ups and scale-ups, investors, government organisations and talent can meet each other to discuss the subject of hydrogen. This is crucial for sharing knowledge, providing information and training, as well as for attracting talent.”
Nicole confirms the ambitions and growth potential of the Rotterdam ecosystem: “In Rotterdam, there are serious ambitions relating to hydrogen production. And there is a concrete policy to create and expand a strong hydrogen cluster, with Shell as launching customer. Furthermore, the region already has the necessary facilities. The activities related to bringing ashore the energy from – sometimes still unbuilt – offshore windfarms are very important in terms of providing a boost. All this, in combination with existing facilities which provide a perfect starting point for the gradual upscaling of hydrogen, such as coal and gas-fuelled plants, tank terminals and hydrogen customers like refineries and the chemical industry, help determine the structure and strength of the Rotterdam ecosystem.”