Some people are already calling it green gold: Green hydrogen produced from renewable energy is the key technology for the clean energy supply of the future. Dutch port operator Groningen Seaports has chosen the innovative SoluForce plastic pipes from Wienerberger Piping Solutions to transport it.
Europe’s Goal: To become climate-neutral by 2050 using green hydrogen
The European Union’s Green Deal sees green hydrogen as a key technology for delivering on the goal of making Europe carbon neutral by 2050. As a zero-emission energy carrier and raw material it can be used in a broad range of applications, for example, as gas in industrial processes or added to the gas supply for households. But green hydrogen can also be used as vehicle fuel or as a storage medium for electricity from wind or solar power.
The EU will make substantial funding available to support the development of green hydrogen applications in the next few years. The north-east Netherlands is leading by example and in the region around Emmen has launched more than 50 hydrogen projects, for example in industry or transport. In a large-scale demonstration project, the EU Commission is supporting the region’s development into a “Hydrogen Valley“. The objective: to use green hydrogen along the entire value chain and to develop business models for its use in the local energy system.
World Premier: Transporting hydrogen with SoluForce
Wienerberger Piping Solutions is supporting Groningen Seaports with an innovative plastic pipeline. SoluForce pipes, the latest generation of pipes from Pipelife, are the first plastic pipes in the world to be certified for transporting hydrogen under high pressure. Starting in 2021 they will be installed over a distance of four kilometers in the port of Delfzijl. Green hydrogen produced by electrolysis can then be transported to the industrial and chemical plants in the region.
Plastic composite pipe system revolutionizes hydrogen transport
Transporting green hydrogen under high pressure still presents a number of challenges. The gaseous energy carrier impairs the strength and durability of materials - shortening the service life of conventional pipes, which are mostly made of steel. This is where the SoluForce pipe system comes in. The innovative plastic composite pipe system is suitable for hydrogen applications of up to 42 bar. An aluminum layer prevents gas leakages and protects against damage.
The system is completely corrosion-proof, even under high pressure. Moreover, SoluForce pipes are about one fifth less expensive than the steel alternative, and CO2emissions over their entire life cycle are 2.5 times lower. The pipes are quick and easy to install - and require no maintenance.
The hydrogen-certified pipe systems from Pipelife provide the backbone for a secure energy supply
Hydrogen can then be distributed to a diverse range of consumers via the existing gas networks. Pipelife already has certified solutions in place for this and is working on Gas-Stop, a special safety valve to support a secure energy supply in Europe.
Groningen: clean electricity production from the sea
Ambitious plans have been developed to build a huge offshore wind park in the province of Groningen to produce clean electricity. Electrolyzers will convert electricity into green hydrogen, which will then be distributed in an efficient pipeline network. “In Groningen we began specializing in developing renewable energy services years ago. Our goal is to become the leading green seaport and industrial region in the Netherlands by 2030 – and hydrogen plays an important role in getting us there”, says CEO Cas König from Groningen Seaports explaining the strategy. The company operates two ports – in Delfzijl and Eemshaven.
Our goal is to become the leading green seaport and industrial region in the Netherlands by 2030 – and hydrogen plays an important role in getting us there.
From 2040: 800,000 tons of green hydrogen every year
Together with partners Groningen Seaports has launched NortH2, Europe’s biggest green hydrogen project. In addition to the huge offshore wind park to be built in the North Sea, a large electrolyzer will be set up at Eemshaven to convert wind energy into hydrogen. From 2040 onwards, this will generate roughly 800,000 tons of green hydrogen every year. Compared to fossil fuels, this will save approximately seven megatons of carbon emissions, equivalent to the volume of emissions caused by one million EU citizens each year. The first wind turbines are expected to be operational by 2027.
“Together with our partners at Wienerberger, we have taken an important step toward revolutionizing the transport of green hydrogen“, says Eertwijn van den Dool, Project Director at Groningen Seaports. In recognition of their efforts, the two partners received the Northern Enlightenment award, a Dutch prize for innovation, for the project. “As the technology leader in this sector, we are currently focusing on the transport of green hydrogen to industry. I am convinced that many other exciting fields of application will emerge in the future,” adds Robert-Jan Berg, Managing Director for SoluForce.
As the technology leader in this sector, we are currently focusing on the transport of green hydrogen to industry. I am convinced that many other exciting fields of application will emerge in the future.
Read the entire story, including an interview with the Dutch hydrogen expert Professor Ad Van Wijk, here: World of Wienerberger Magazine 2020.