Big investments towards hydrogen future in Rotterdam

The petrochemical industry has a strong presence in the port of Rotterdam. This may not be the first industry that you think of in terms of sustainability and clean energy. But these traditional industries are an essential link in the energy transition and the global aim to become carbon neutral. Large international companies like Shell, BP and Vopak are investing heavily in hydrogen developments in Rotterdam’s port area, boosting the region’s energy transition efforts.

It is in Rotterdam’s port and industrial clusters where local government, the Port of Rotterdam Authority, companies, innovative start-up and scale-ups and other partners come together to establish an international hub for the production, import, application and transport of hydrogen. The Port of Rotterdam is a main driving force behind Rotterdam’s energy transition efforts, by transforming port operations and investing in making existing industral clusters in the port area more sustainable. One of the areas where the Port Authority is investing and helping companies who contribute to greening our future set up and grow, is the Rotterdam Makers District. Here, the likes of Battolyser, Platform Zero and are working hard on their innovative solutions that all aim for a greener future.

Why in Rotterdam? The city, region and port of Rotterdam have many advantages, making it ideal as a Hydrogen Hub. Rotterdam, the Gateway to Europe, is Europe’s largest and the world’s smartest port, with an extensive industrial network and infrastructure that connects to and services Northwest Europe. Traditional, fossil fuel-based energy industry is still dominant in our urban region, but with the shift towards more sustainable energy, this offers important and exciting options and opportunities for the future. Also, Rotterdam is known for its passion for innovation. Here, the old and the new economy go hand in hand, industry crossovers arise organically, and many innovations are shared with, and applied all over the world.

This year and last year, several major international companies that are already active in Rotterdam’s industrial cluster have announced important investments in new hydrogen technology and facilities. These companies include the likes of Shell, Uniper, bp and Vopak.

Shell Holland Hydrogen 1

Shell is developing Europe’s largest green hydrogen plant Holland Hydrogen 1 at Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte, located in the port area. When completed in 2025, this plant will produce 60,000 kilograms of renewable hydrogen per day. The huge electrolyser (200 MW) will be powered by electricity from the Hollandse Kust (noord) offshore wind farm, which is currently being built in the North Sea. With the hydrogen to be produced in the factory, Shell will supply its Energy and Chemicals Park Rotterdam with green hydrogen via the new HyNetwork Services pipeline and replace part of the grey hydrogen (made from natural gas or oil) currently used. The new factory is expected to lead to a 2.4 Mt reduction in CO2 emissions in the first 10 years of operation. This is equivalent to the emissions of approximately 150,000 vehicles driving 10,000 km per year.

bp: H2-Fifty

bp is also actively investing in hydrogen projects in Rotterdam. Their H2-Fifty project aims to support the Port of Rotterdam’s hydrogen vision, decarbonise the bp Rotterdam refinery and make green hydrogen available for the decarbonisation of industries across the port of Rotterdam and the wider Benelux/West-German region. This project involves the construction of a 250 MW capacity electrolyser which will be capable of producing up to 40,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year, replacing the grey hydrogen at bp’s Rotterdam refinery as feedstock. Carbon dioxide emissions from this refinery will consequently be severely reduced.

Gasunie, HES International, Vopak: ACE Terminal

Another important development in the port of Rotterdam involves the development of an import terminal for green ammonia as a hydrogen carrier by collaborating partners Gasunie, HES International and Vopak. This project is the direct result of increased global demand for the import and storage of green energy. Ammonia is well suited as a carrier for large quantities of green hydrogen and can therefore play an important role in greening energy, petrochemical and transport industries and overall, in the energy transition. Because European production capacities are insufficient to meet growing demands, European countries will continue to depend on the import of green hydrogen in the foreseeable future. The new ACE Terminal should be operational from 2026.

Sources used for this article: websites Port of Rotterdam, Shell, bp, Vopak

Header photo: Guido Pijper

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