Important step in the development of the hydrogen economy: plan for the first industrial power-to-gas installation in Belgium (Zeebrugge)

27 February 2020 - Eoly (part of Colruyt Group), Parkwind and Fluxys want to build an installation in Zeebrugge to convert renewable electricity into green hydrogen on an industrial scale. The feasibility study for the project turned out positive and today, the consortium is issuing a call for tenders for its construction. The partners aim to take a final investment decision after the summer.

Hyoffwind: very first power-to-gas installation on an industrial scale in Belgium

Eoly (part of Colruyt Group), Parkwind and Fluxys announced a partnership in 2018 to boost the sustainability of the energy landscape in Belgium. With the green energy project Hyoffwind, the partners want to build a power-to-gas installation to convert renewable electricity into green hydrogen through electrolysis.

Hyoffwind has been set up as an industrial-scale installation (electrolysis of 25 MW of electricity), in line with the industrial projects that are being developed in neighbouring countries. This project aims at a scale-up for Belgium, and consequently making sure that our country is not missing out on the current evolutions. Zeebrugge would act as an energy hub, also having the potential as a logistics hub for hydrogen applications. It would be the first installation of such scale in Belgium. As a result, the price of renewable hydrogen could drop, which in turn could boost the applications that make use of this green hydrogen.

Feasibility study positive

In a first phase, with the support of the Federal Energy Transition Fund, the feasibility of the installation was further investigated - and the outcome is positive. The technology is mature enough to realise an industrialised production of green hydrogen, and the legislative framework and permits provide a sufficient basis to further build on the realisation of the project.

Broad cooperation increases chance of success

In order to be able to realise the project on time, the consortium is continuing to work with its own resources on - for example - the grid connection with Elia, the marketing of the green hydrogen, the sending out of the price request, the preparation of the permit file and the setting up of the legal entities. The financial feasibility of this innovative project in a burgeoning market will increase significantly if it is supported by a broad collaboration, and financial support, from other stakeholders in the context of energy policy.

François Van Leeuw, CEO Parkwind explains: "The participating companies are taking a business risk and are willing to go for it, and the feasibility of the project has been demonstrated. Due to its sustainable and innovative character, this project fits in the objectives of the Flemish Government on hydrogen and in the European Green Deal".

Today, the consortium is taking the next step and is tendering with various external parties to develop the project into a concrete reality. Current timing is to be able to take a final investment decision after this summer (after the tendering and contracting process) in order to be able to start the construction of the installation by mid 2021, after obtaining the necessary permits and authorizations. Based on the current planning, the first production is planned for early 2023.

Stephan Windels, Business Unit Manager of Eoly adds: "In order to meet the future demand for green hydrogen it is necessary to start now with the creation of the necessary conditions to create a positive business case for large-scale hydrogen plants. Therefore, the development of the renewable hydrogen economy needs to start now".

Towards a real hydrogen economy: our country as a pioneer

Green hydrogen can be transported and stored in the existing natural gas infrastructure, which, in the future, could enable the seasonal storage of renewable energy. At the same time, natural gas as energy for heating, mobility and industry will become more carbon efficient and thus more sustainable. In addition, green hydrogen can also be used as a carbon-free energy or raw material on its own, in mobility, logistics and industrial processes, for example in the chemical or steel industry. The realisation of Hyoffwind aims to create economic added value for the companies that are active throughout the hydrogen value chain (production - transport - off-take).

"We reach out to everyone who wants to help set a new course in making the energy landscape more sustainable," says Pascal De Buck, CEO of Fluxys. "With this project we can give the kick-start for local knowledge building on hydrogen and the hydrogen economy. We can develop applications here so that our country can play a meaningful role within 5-10 years. With our partners, we are convinced that our country can really become a leader for innovations in hydrogen".