Key Energy Transition Hub: European Port Antwerp-Bruges Becomes Foundation Member Of H2Global

Officially merged in April 2022, Port of Antwerp-Bruges perceives itself in a key role in the production, distribution, and use of green hydrogen. Europe’s largest export port is now participating in the German H2Global Foundation with an endowment sum of EUR 100,000. The foundation has set itself the goal of making green hydrogen acceptable as an energy substitute in Europe – thereby advancing the energy transition and independence from Russian gas supplies. Flemish Minister Jo Brouns (CD&V): “Flanders will need the import of sustainable hydrogen, in addition to local production.”

Port of Antwerp-Bruges is playing a key role in the energy transition. Its position in the international logistics chain and as a chemical cluster is crucial in accelerating the market ramp-up of green hydrogen and its derivatives. The H2Global Foundation has developed a competition-based double auction mechanism by which its subsidiary HINT.CO acts as an intermediary anx auctions green hydrogen and derivates at the lowest possible price. Afterward, they sell the green hydrogen in Germany and Europe to the highest bidder. The expected negative difference can be compensated by the 900 million euro subsidy from the German government, BMWK.

Port Antwerp
Credits: Port Of Antwerp Bruges

“As an energy and feedstock hub and a growing producer of green hydrogen, the port of Antwerp and Zeebrugge is a crucial factor for the logistics that enable the energy transition. Its decision to join the foundation is a sign that H2Global is a joint European and a global effort as well,” as Markus Exenberger explains the new foundation heavyweight now coming on board.

Flemish Minister Jo Brouns (CD&V) is pleased that the port can join with the support of the Flemish government, who co-finances the membership: “We are going to need sustainable hydrogen for the sustainability of our industry and heavy transport. But Flanders and Belgium are too small to produce all our own hydrogen ourselves, so we always have to look at imports.

That’s why it’s important for the port, as a Flemish industrial cluster, to have a role in H2Global in order to participate with Flanders in this sustainable story.” The clear message from the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, as Europe’s largest port for vehicle handling, the home of Europe’s largest integrated chemical cluster, and a leading container port, aligns well with the European and societal core of the H2Global idea.

“As an energy hub, the port is one of the places where the energy transition becomes manifest in a variety of activities, from terminal handling and storage to transmission and distribution networks and off-take,” said CEO Jacques Vandermeiren, commenting on his company’s financial, political and practical commitment to the H2Global Foundation.

“Committing massive investments, we are striving to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Together with our partners in the Hydrogen Import Coalition and the major players on our port platform, we are already supporting projects that pursue the production, transport, and storage of hydrogen. Our involvement in H2Global is intended to provide an additional boost to the market ramp-up required for this. In this way, we want to reconcile economy and climate.”

The current supply situation viewed against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and the accompanying energy shortages underline the urgency: “It is currently impossible for north-western Europe to obtain all the energy it needs from renewable energy sources,” says Vandermeiren, outlining the geopolitical and economic background. “The plans for importing green hydrogen from countries with much more solar energy are becoming more and more concrete.” Green hydrogen – or its derivatives – will be arriving at major ports such as Antwerp-Bruges, among others. And this is where the foundation’s idea behind the H2Global funding program comes in.

Annick De Ridder, president of Port of Antwerp-Bruges: “It is the declared ambition of our port to become the ‘green port’ of the future and the energy gateway to Europe. As an active pioneer of the hydrogen economy we have taken major steps in the last two years, always embedded in fruitful collaborations both at home and abroad. Because the hydrogen chain is complex, we have, for example, joined forces in a Hydrogen Import Coalition with five major industrial players and public stakeholders and are focusing on concrete projects that will shape the production, transport, and storage of hydrogen. In the coming years, hydrogen projects such as with Chile and Oman (port of Duqm) will be further developed and we will start the construction of the Hyoffwind hydrogen plant. As a founding member of H2Global, we are putting some more ‘power’ into our hydrogen ambitions.”

Today, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges is already introducing alternative energy sources such as hydrogen and turning them into sustainable raw materials and fuel for the port’s chemical sector. The port is also expected to play a vital role in the import and local production of green hydrogen. Initial green hydrogen production will start in 2023 with a ramp-up through 2025-2027 for large volumes of green molecules coming in from overseas.

Exenberger: “The Port of Antwerp-Bruges is at the forefront of green hydrogen logistics and production in Europe. The fact that the port is so committed to our foundation and to the rapid establishment of a hydrogen market in Europe shows just how important instruments like this are for the European economic area and common security architecture.”

Reference: Port Of Antwerp Bruges

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