Three Dutch companies – Tata Steel, the Port of Amsterdam and Nouryon (the former chemicals arm of AkzoNobel) – will be carrying out research over the next three years into the possible construction of a green hydrogen factory of 100 MW. They'll be making the final decision in early 2021. 

The three parties announced their plans today. The research involves a feasibility study, as there are still many uncertainties in relation to this project. For instance, the technology for converting water to oxygen and hydrogen using green energy is not yet economical. The three companies want to clarify what the costs will be, which technological steps need to be taken and what contribution the authorities will make. 



The factory will produce 150,000 tons of hydrogen annually using wind energy, originating from already planned, but as yet unbuilt offshore wind turbines adjacent to the Tata site. The factory will also be located there. In total, the companies think that this will save 350,000 tons of CO2, the equivalent of 40,000 households. 

The hydrogen is made from water, which is separated into oxygen and hydrogen using electricity.

The Tata site at the estuary of the North Sea Canal.


The hydrogen produced will be partially used to make naphtha from the waste gases of the blast furnaces. It can then be used by the chemicals industry. Tata has previously announced plans for a trial factory that uses waste gases such as CO and CO2. For the steel company, a green hydrogen plant reflects its ambition to be CO2 neutral by 2050. But this will have to involve more than just making hydrogen production greener, with CO2 storage also being a major factor in the not-too-distant future. 

Nouryon calls itself the expert in the field of green hydrogen production. The company has one 10 MW plant in Norway and is working on various other projects in the Netherlands and Germany. Last week, the company announced plans for a research centre in Groningen. But a 100 MW plant is another ballgame altogether. 

The study should reveal over the coming years what is needed precisely for such a major hydrogen factory to become feasible. ‘There's a lot to be gained from more efficient water electrolysis. All parts of such a system are still made by hand, but that will become cheaper if they are manufactured on an industrial scale,’ explains Marcel Galjee, Energy Director at Nouryon. ‘We also want to examine whether production can be made cheaper by using higher voltages or carrying out the process under pressure.’ The ultimate goal is to make green hydrogen production profitable. 

The North Sea Canal from Amsterdam.



The parties involved all see an important role for the government, which can assist in the development using subsidies. Theo Henrar, Chairman of the Board of Tata Steel: ‘The EU government must contribute to the non-profitable part.’ Knut Schwalenberg, Chairman of the Board of Nouryon: ‘Our initiative gives the Netherlands the chance to become the world leader in hydrogen production. The solar panels and wind turbines currently used do not originate from the Netherlands. Maybe the hydrogen factories will come from here.’ 

If it turns out in 2021 that the plan is feasible, construction will still take another two or three years, as long as the technology is ready to use by that time.

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