Thursday 22 February 2018 saw another celebratory and important step towards clean and emission-free driving: The hydrogen filling station in Delfzijl opened for business. Together with the two buses that will be running in Groningen and Drenthe in the years to come, this forms the prelude to the greening of the economy in the Northern Netherlands. Member of the Provincial Executive Fleur Gräper – Van Koolwijk, who holds the Traffic and Transport portfolio in the Province of Groningen and heads the Public Transport Office in Groningen, conducted the opening together with Qbuzz, AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, Groningen Seaports and PitPoint. The trial with the buses has a term of five years and is supported by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the European HighVLOCity programme.
PitPoint built a filling station next to the Chemie Park Delfzijl in order to facilitate the use of hydrogen buses in the region. An innovative pipeline, laid by Groningen Seaports, transports the green hydrogen – which is produced at the AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals plant – to the filling station. This sustainable hydrogen could make an important contribution to the reduction of particulate matter and CO2 emissions from road traffic.
2030 Emission Free
From 2030 onwards all public transport must be emission free. In 2016 the national government made agreements with commissioning authorities for public transport to make exclusive use of new buses, without harmful emissions, after 2026. Two hydrogen buses that emit no more than clean water vapour are now refuelling and running here. According to the provincial authorities of Groningen and Drenthe, the North is ideally suited to this because of the long distances in our provinces. There is expected to be a gradual increase in the number of hydrogen buses after 2020. The provinces of Groningen, Drenthe, Noord-Brabant and Zuid-Holland have drawn up a plan to use 50 hydrogen buses for public transport, 20 of which in the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe. The partnership between the provincial authorities forms part of the European Jive2 project and is receiving a contribution of 7.5 million euros from the Fuel Cell Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU). The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is contributing another 3.75 million euros, and the regions themselves are paying a further 3.75 million euros towards the use of the buses.
As well as using hydrogen as a fuel for buses, hydrogen also presents opportunities for greening the economy when it comes to trains and other heavy transport. The large-scale production of green hydrogen means that it can be used in the energy and chemicals areas. The challenge faced by the Northern Netherlands is to produce green hydrogen from sustainable sources and to transport it to companies in order to make the chemical and mobility sectors greener. AkzoNobel and Gasunie are looking into ways of extending the production of green hydrogen together with other companies in the port area of the Eems Delta region, starting with a plant for the production of hydrogen (20 MW water electrolysis). The opening of the filling station therefore also forms the green light for the continued development of green hydrogen in the field of mobility, and, accordingly, the greening of our northern economy.
The hydrogen filling station in Delfzijl has been opened for business. An unique moment for the project delegation to raise a cheer!