Officially merged in April 2022, Port of Antwerp-Bruges perceives itself in a key role for 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. Afterwards 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.
"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 import. 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 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 programme 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, 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 a common security architecture."
The aim of the H2Global Foundation is to promote and advance climate and environmental protection. One element in achieving the foundation's purpose is the testing of an efficient funding program for a rapid market ramp-up and import of green hydrogen and power-to-X products (PtX). For the first time, the funding mechanism enables the economic, sustainable operation of PtX plants and thereby allows the industrial market ramp-up that is now required. Accordingly, H2Global differs from previous investment support program, which primarily provide investment subsidies to develop and test PtX technologies. In order to promote the ramp-up of a green hydrogen economy efficiently and in a market economy context, H2Global employs a double auction model to determine the price. The lowest bid price and the highest selling price are each awarded the contract. In this way, the price difference to be compensated is as small as possible. By way of a divergence of terms in the purchase and sales contracts, the intermediary can also profit from possible price increases in the products sold - reducing the need for state subsidies and is therefore potentially far more efficient than previous subsidy instruments. The purchase of green hydrogen and hydrogen-based PtX products includes their delivery to Germany. Further criteria in awarding the purchase of green hydrogen and their derivatives include sustainability requirements defined by the federal government as well as the maturity of the respective projects.
More information: https://www.h2-global.de/
About the Port of Antwerp-Bruges
With an overall throughput of 289 million tons per year, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges is a critical hub in worldwide trade and industry. It is a crucial link for the handling of containers, breakbulk and for the throughput of vehicles. The Port of Antwerp-Bruges is home to 1,400 companies and accommodates the largest integrated chemical cluster in Europe. The port provides a total of around 164,000 jobs directly and indirectly and generates 21 billion euro.
The ambition for the Port of Antwerp-Bruges is clear - to become the world's first port to reconcile economy, people and climate. As well as growing in a sustainable way, the Port also aims to focus on its unique position as a logistics, maritime and industrial centre and to take the lead in the transition to a circular and low-carbon economy. Together with the port community, customers and other partners, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges is actively seeking innovative solutions for a sustainable future. High on the agenda is its responsibility for the environment and the surrounding society.
The port sites of Antwerp and Zeebrugge are operated by the Antwerp-Bruges Port Authority, a limited liability company of public law, with the City of Antwerp and the City of Bruges as its shareholders. The port employs 1,800 people. Vice-Mayor of Antwerp Annick De Ridder is President of the Board of Directors; Mayor of Bruges Dirk De fauw is Vice-President, and Jacques Vandermeiren is CEO and President of the Executive Committee, which is responsible for the port’s day-to-day management.
More information: www.portofantwerpbruges.com
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