Logistics & Supply Chain

Green Hydrogen Is the Way out of the Energy Crisis

The recently merged Port of Antwerp-Bruges positions itself as an import hub for Europe

01.10.2022 - Green hydrogen is experiencing an enormous upswing in the current energy crisis. The increased demand will be difficult to meet on a local level. So, right on time, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges is preparing to bring large quantities of the climate-friendly energy carrier from non-European countries to Western Europe.

Experts estimate that the demand for green hydrogen in Germany alone could be as high as 180 terawatt hours in the future. That is three times as much as the current hydrogen consumption in total. Imports will thus undoubtedly become the only alternative to make the climate-friendly and meanwhile comparatively cheap energy carrier sufficiently available in Europe. Coastal locations and domestic regions are gearing up to support this development within the framework of national hydrogen strategies in many countries.

The Belgian Port of Antwerp-Bruges also will play an important role in the hydrogen economy - not only for Belgium, but also as an import hub for Germany and other Western European countries. While Antwerp with its existing terminals can immediately receive and store hydrogen carriers such as ammonia or methanol, Zeebrugge has the advantage of direct access to the sea. Here, large quantities of both gaseous and liquefied hydrogen can be unloaded with just a few adjustments to the infrastructure. Via pipelines, for or example, the hydrogen then reaches the end users.

2030: Green Hydrogen directly to Germany
The port expects the first large ships with hydrogen carriers such as ammonia or methanol to arrive within the next two years. In a first stage, these capacities will be used by the companies in Antwerp's chemical and petrochemical cluster. A hydrogen pipeline for the port area is planned to be built by 2025. By 2030 at the latest, Germany will also be supplied with green hydrogen from Antwerp.

The decision on where the port will source the green hydrogen will be based on a whole range of parameters, from the distance to Zeebrugge and Antwerp to the stability of the local political regime and, of course, the availability of solar and wind resources. Possible countries are Oman, Chile, and Namibia, but also Canada or Australia. The potential for wind and solar energy is large in these countries and the production of green hydrogen is correspondingly cheap there, so that the costs for transport are balanced out.

Production of Green Hydrogen Directly in the Harbour
In addition, a 100-megawatt plant to produce green hydrogen is being built in Antwerp's NextGen District. The company Plug Power signed a 30-year concession agreement and leased a 28-hectare plot of land. The Americans want to produce up to 12,500 tonnes of liquid and gaseous green hydrogen annually here for the European market. The first pilot production of green hydrogen is planned for 2024, the commissioning of the factory for 2025.

In addition, the port continues to focus on reducing its carbon footprint together with its industrial and maritime customers and is exploring the application of Carbon Capture, Utilisation & Storage (CCUS). In this way, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges is helping companies in the chemical industry in Europe to meet the energy challenges of this time in two ways.