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University of Groningen transforming Northern Netherlands into green energy hub

10 September 2019
Evrim Ursavas

The University of Groningen is the academic lead on an ambitious project to transform the Northern Netherlands into a hub of green hydrogen energy.

The HEAVENN project is intended to serve as a blueprint for energy transition internationally. It will examine how to build on the existing infrastructure of the gas industry to develop large-scale production of green hydrogen, an energy resource produced from renewable sources. The project has been selected by the European Commission to start grant preparation for EU support of 20 million euros, and public and private co-funding of 70 million euros. Green hydrogen can be used to heat buildings, fuel vehicles, and in aviation. The project will see gas pipelines retrofitted to transport hydrogen, the development of storage facilities and filling stations, and the incorporation of green hydrogen in a range of uses. It is a public-private partnership that brings together a range of bodies from the local municipalities, to energy, real estate and transport companies with the University of Groningen as the academic lead.

Important implications for society

‘This is a project with really important implications for society and the economy,’ said Evrim Ursavas, Associate Professor of Energy and Logistics and academic lead on the project. ‘We aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions substantially, which would bring better air quality and health benefits to the people of the northern Netherlands. Studies also indicate that transforming the energy system will create a significant number of jobs, related to decommissioning, maintenance, installation, production and planning.’

‘It’s great timing too. We see this as a huge opportunity for Groningen to get ahead. We have the gas fields and a lot of infrastructure, which is a huge head start in building an energy hub that can serve as an example of energy transition internationally. It’s great that our region will be ahead of this trend.’

Northern Netherlands as an inspiring example region

Ursavas was drawn to the project as it combines her key research areas of energy and logistics in a topic of huge societal importance. ‘For me, the most exciting aspect of the project is innovation. The Northern Netherlands has great potential to become a national and international energy hub, with its extensive gas infrastructure, storage facilities, power stations, solar and onshore/offshore wind farms. With this project, the Northern Netherlands will significantly strengthen its innovative power and can become an inspiring example region for the implementation of smart and sustainable European objectives,’ Ursavas said.

‘This topic is hugely relevant for our lives now, and for our future, and that’s what draws me to this topic. We can really affect positive change in people’s lives with this and give back to society as experts. It’s very fulfilling.’

Additional information

For more information contact Evrim Ursavas, and see the press release below.

EU support for the green hydrogen region of Europe: Northern Netherlands

The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) of the European Commission has selected the Northern Netherlands to start the grant preparation for an EU support of 20 million euros and public and private cofunding of 70 million euros. The total project volume is approximately 90 million euros. The grant is meant to develop a fully-fledged green hydrogen value chain in the Northern Netherlands. The ‘HEAVENN-project (H2 Energy Applications (in) Valley Environments (for) Northern Netherlands) consortium’, led by Energy Valley (part of the New Energy Coalition), participated in the call for applications in April, which included 31 public and private projects from six European countries. The consortium’s call application was supported by over 65 national and international parties from all over the world, including California, Japan and New Zealand. The HEAVENN-project is unique because it comprises an entire hydrogen value chain within one geographical region. The consortium aims to sign the grant agreement before the beginning of next year which will allow the region to start the six-year project and become one of Europe’s leading regions in hydrogen.

Sectoral integration of green hydrogen: from production to filling stations

Projects that will be supported by the grant involve the large-scale production of green hydrogen as a feedstock for industry, storage, transportation and distribution of hydrogen and hydrogen applications in industry, the built environment and the mobility sector. Existing natural gas pipelines will be retrofitted to enable the transportation of hydrogen and new pipelines will be built at Chemical Park Delfzijl and between GZI-Next and the Emmtec Industry Business Park in Emmen. An underground hydrogen storage facility is foreseen at HyStock in Veendam. Hydrogen as a feedstock for heating in the built environment in Hoogeveen and Groningen and for industry in Delfzijl and Emmen will be developed. In the mobility sector, hydrogen will be used for buses, light and heavy-duty vehicles and cars. Hydrogen filling stations will be built in Groningen and Emmen in addition to the previously planned stations in Pesse and Groningen and the already operational station in Delfzijl. Furthermore, hydrogen will be used for an inland waterway vessel and for the production of e-kerosine for aviation. Heavy-duty vehicles are also particularly suitable for hydrogen application and decarbonising this sector will greatly contribute to CO2-reduction and climate-neutrality.

Hydrogen HEAVENN

The Hydrogen Valley grant is one of the largest grants that the public-private partnership FCH JU, part of the HORIZON 2020 Framework Programme, has ever made available for one project. This grant and the regional co-financing that accompanies it enables the winning region to go beyond individual hydrogen projects and develop sectoral integration for green hydrogen. This allows the region to take leadership in the field of hydrogen and be a source of inspiration for the development of other hydrogen regions in Europe and beyond. The application process for the HEAVENN-project was led by The New Energy Coalition and the Northern Netherlands Alliance.

Participating companies: RIJKSUNIVERSITEIT GRONINGEN, STICHTING ENERGY VALLEY, QBUZZ B.V., GRONINGEN MUNICIPALITY, AKZO NOBEL INDUSTRIAL CHEM, NAM, GASUNIE, Gemeente Emmen, EMMTEC services B.V., CEMTEC FONDEN, HINICIO, FHA, ENGIE ENERGIE NEDERLAND, Gemeente Hoogeveen, HyEnergy TransStore BV, Enercy B.V, CNG NET, Green Planet Real Estate, European Research Institute for G, SNN, Bytesnet Groningen, H2Tec BV, U.V.O. Vervoer BV, OIC, EWE GASSPEICHER GmbH, EBN B.V., Groningen Seaports N.V., Lenten Scheepvaart B.V., NPRC, Hydrogen Ireland, EMEC

Last modified:10 September 2019 3.35 p.m.

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