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The HY3 project

North-West Europe is facing a transition from a fossil-based energy system towards a sustainable, more intermittent energy system based mainly on solar and wind energy. This transition towards a more variable energy production requires a stronger flexibility of the energy system in place. One of the options to increase flexibility of the system is by converting part of the produced electricity from wind and solar to hydrogen.

Strong growth in offshore wind is expected both in the Netherlands and Germany. Thereby, these countries have various large current and potential demand centers for hydrogen near their borders, both now and in the future (Ruhr area, North Germany, Chemelot area Limburg, etc.). For that reason, there is an opportunity for the Netherlands-Nordrhein Westfalen area to become an important pivot in the development of a hydrogen economy; connecting the large demand areas in the region with the electricity and hydrogen production areas. Exploring the potential to develop a transnational hydrogen economy in this area might be an important cross-border opportunity to solve the energy transition challenges in a more optimal way, decreasing both industrial as well as the societal costs of the transition.

Introducing hydrogen into the future energy system in a more pronounced way may have several advantages:

  • Hydrogen is not only an energy carrier, but can in itself serve as feedstock for the industry. Several industrial processes that currently run on natural gas can be changed to be based on hydrogen (e.g. steel production, direct and indirect high-temperature heating, etc.). Potentially, this can be broadened towards the mobility sector (heavy duty transport) and households as well.
  • Transport of (hydrogen) gas can be done through pipelines, which have usually higher capacities than electricity cables. In general, transport through pipelines is cheaper than the development of electricity cables. Additionally, existing natural gas pipelines might be re-used for hydrogen transport (whether or not modifications are needed).
  • Hydrogen can be stored in large volumes both above ground as well as in the subsurface. Storage of hydrogen in depleted salt caverns will offer the opportunity to seasonally store energy in large volumes.

As these could be important flexibility options, production, transport and storage of hydrogen is currently studied intensively in various NW-European countries.

The project goals of the HY3 project are to:

  • Analyse the feasibility of a transnational green hydrogen economy in the border area of the Netherlands and North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Examine the potential of GHG-reduction and increase of the renewable energy deployment in the industry sector by a transnational green hydrogen economy
  • Examine possible business cases for future green hydrogen economy by using transnational (Dutch-German) hydrogen production and transportation infrastructures
  • Examine industrial interest in green hydrogen economy and potential field of applications
  • Describe the existing regulatory framework in the context of green hydrogen production, transport, trading and usage and examining the framework that would be needed to establish transnational green hydrogen economy as well as respective business cases

The HY3 project focusses on green hydrogen production, import, transport storage and use. Production of hydrogen includes national production of hydrogen from offshore wind in the Dutch and German offshore, leading to a north-south oriented transport routing from offshore to the main demand centers. Import is considered for the largest Dutch harbour – Rotterdam. This leads to a west-east oriented transport routing. The main demand center considered in this study is the Ruhr area in Germany. Demand is focussed on industrial purposes of hydrogen as well as the application of hydrogen in the mobility sector.

This study is a collaboration between the Netherlands and Germany. The different parts of the hydrogen value chain are studied by different institutes. This concerns three workpackages:

  • Hydrogen demand
  • Hydrogen Transport & Storage
  • Hydrogen production from Offshore Wind

These work packages are led by respectively Forschungzentrum Jülich (Germany), TNO (the Netherlands) and DENA (Germany). The study build upon an extensive range in experience and scenarios that are available for the development of a hydrogen transport network as well as demand and production on both national and European level. By bringing together the relevant knowledge from these studies and plans, the HY3 project hopes to highlight the opportunities for cross-border collaboration in the field of hydrogen.

WP1 Hydrogen Demand

This work package focuses on derivation of the existing and potential hydrogen demand in the transport and industry within the Netherlands and North Rhine-Westphalia. Estimation of the market potential of hydrogen for both feedstock and energetic purposes as well as the market entrance will be assessed, in addition to the synergies between industry and transport sectors. Different market entrance levels for these sectors result in variations in the system design as well as the cost of hydrogen.

The goals of this work package are to:

  • Identify and describe existing and potential hydrogen demands both for feedstock and energetic purposes in the Netherlands and North Rhine-Westphalia taking mid-term European and national climate goals into account
  • Identify and quantify available by-product hydrogen potential
  • Identify hydrogen quality requirements for the relevant hydrogen markets
  • Select two prioritized demand spots (one in the Netherlands and one in NRW)
  • Assess Technology Readiness Level of GHG reduction technologies using hydrogen
  • Benchmark cost of the most promising technological alternatives to hydrogen applications
  • Assess cost sensitivity of the relevant industrial products and mobility services to the cost of hydrogen
  • Assess potential synergies of hydrogen use in industry with mobility
  • Assess expected market entrance of hydrogen technologies

WP2 Transport & Storage

This work package focusses on the development of effective transport scenarios to transport hydrogen from production (offshore wind in the Dutch and German offshore) and import (Rotterdam harbour) to demand centers supported by large-scale subsurface storage options. Transport scenarios are routed along the relevant available hydrogen transport scenarios on national (Dutch and German) as well as European level.

The goals of this work package are to:

  • Come up with potential transport scenarios to transport hydrogen from production (Dutch and German offshore) and import centers (Rotterdam Harbour) to demand centres
  • Identify potential storage locations in the Netherlands-Nordrhein Westfalen area in terms of location, volumes and timing
  • Describe potential infrastructure modifications needed to implement the scenarios
  • Gain insight in the current regulatory framework for hydrogen transport and storage and identify potential barriers for implementation of a hydrogen economy
  • Collection of the above in realistic transition pathways

WP3 Hydrogen production from offshore wind

Hydrogen production by utilising offshore wind offers a promising solution for meeting a growing demand for a carbon-free, green hydrogen in the Netherlands and in North Rhine-Westphalia. Aim of the production scenarios is to investigate the technical solutions of a wind power supply for the electrolysis plants. In this respect, two supply concepts are being considered:

  • Concept A: an offshore wind park powers an onshore electrolyser which is connected to the existing gas transmission network
  • Concept B: an offshore wind park powers an offshore electrolyser which is connected to the existing gas transmission network by a subsea pipeline

The goals of this work package are to:

  • Define Supply Chain concepts and identification and evaluation of suitable configurations
  • Analyze the offshore wind potential
  • Identify technical solutions for electrolysers for hydrogen production
  • Identify regulatory bottle-necks
  • Identify and evaluate of business cases