MOSCOW (MRC) -- A feasibility study by a coalition of Belgian companies has concluded that imports of green hydrogen will play a key role in establishing the country’s future renewable hydrogen economy, and that ammonia, methanol, and synthetic methane are the “most promising” likely green energy carriers, reported Chemweek.
The study by the Hydrogen Import Coalition, consisting of DEME, Engie, Exmar, Fluxys, Port of Antwerp, Port of Zeebrugge, and WaterstofNet, states that Belgium needs to “look beyond its own production of renewable energy generated domestically or offshore,” to meet the challenge of transitioning to a carbon-neutral society by 2050, it says. The study concludes that this is both technically and economically feasible.
Local production of solar and wind energy will have to be supplemented by the supply of renewable energy from abroad, with hydrogen to play an important role in the blend of end-user solutions, it says. The study mapped out the financial, technical, and regulatory aspects of the entire hydrogen import chain, from production elsewhere to delivery via ships and pipelines to Belgium for internal distribution, also providing a basis for the further roll-out to industrial applications.
“Various types of hydrogen-derived carriers from a range of supply regions will be able to provide cost-competitive renewable energy and raw materials by 2030-2035. The most promising green energy carriers are ammonia, methanol, and synthetic methane,” the consortium states. These can be deployed through existing modes of transport such as pipelines and maritime transport, it says.
Belgium has maritime ports and extensive pipeline infrastructure, is linked to major industrial clusters, and has the capacity to meet both its own domestic energy needs as well as those of surrounding countries, it adds.
Planned next steps will include analysis of how to prepare seaports in Belgium to receive the identified future hydrogen carriers, with the aim of maximizing synergies. Specific pilot projects are also being set up in the area of logistics, industry, and technology for the development of a sustainable economy and the climate transition in the region and a broader hinterland.
“We want to give hydrogen every chance as an energy carrier, a basic element for chemistry and a fuel, and are therefore committing ourselves as an active pioneer in the hydrogen economy,” says Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO at Port of Antwerp. “As a world port and Europe’s largest integrated chemical cluster, we are an important link in this chain. The outcome of this study and its next steps offer promising perspectives for a further large-scale roll-out of hydrogen applications.”
As MRC informed earlier, Shell is teaming up with three partners on a green hydrogen project in Hamburg, Germany, which includes a scalable electrolyser with an initial output of 100 megawatts (MW). Production of green hydrogen at what would be one of the largest electrolyser plants in Europe could begin in 2025, the companies – Shell, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Vattenfall, and Warme Hamburg.
Besides, Essar Oil (Mumbai, India) and clean energy specialist Progressive Energy (Stonehouse, UK) say they have agreed to partner on the development of two low-carbon hydrogen production plants at Essar’s Stanlow refinery in Cheshire, UK, that will supply Progressive’s planned HyNet low-carbon regional distribution network. The companies have recently signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly invest GBP750 million (USD1.02 billion) to build two hydrogen production hubs.
We remind that in late September 2019, Essar resumed operations at its cracker in Stanlow, UK with the capacity of 45,000 mt/year of ethylene and 165,000 mt/year of propylene. It was shut on 11 September, 2019, due to the power outage at the site.
Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia decreased in January-November 2020 by 17% year on year and reached 569,900 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the greatest reduction in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia increased by 21% year on year to about 202,000 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2020. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.