Belgium| Joining forces to make electrolysers more cost-efficient

31 May, 2021

Flemish research centres imec and VITO (both partners in EnergyVille), together with industrial pioneers Bekaert, Colruyt Group, DEME and John Cockerill announced that they are joining forces to invest in the production of green hydrogen.

Under the flag of Hyve, the consortium aims at a cost-efficient and sustainable production of hydrogen at gigawatt level.

Energy policy of the European Union

The EU’s commitment to reaching climate neutrality by 2050 is a part of Europe’s Green Deal. Within the Green Deal, hydrogen technology is considered essential in the energy transition towards a carbon neutral society. Especially in the chemical industry, the steel and cement industry, and in heavy duty transport, green hydrogen is considered key in decarbonisation. Today, the chemical industry depends on grey hydrogen, produced by steam reforming. Unfortunately, this process involves the emission of large quantities of CO2.

Green hydrogen, on the other hand, is produced through the electrolysis of water using renewable energy. To make green hydrogen competitive, the price of green electricity should further decrease, electrolysers should be made more cost-efficient and the economy of scale should do its trick lowering the production costs.

The Hyve consortium brings together players across the value chain to achieve this goal, merging expertise in developing new components for electrolysis, with material suppliers, integration companies that will integrate the new components into their electrolysers, and companies that will use this innovative infrastructure to generate green hydrogen.

Flemish research centres imec and VITO (both partners in EnergyVille) will leverage their knowledge to boost the efficiency of the electrolysis-technology. Imec’s expertise in solid state electrolytes, electrode surfaces, and process technology at nanoscale is combined with VITO’s expertise in membranes, catalysis, and system integration. Bekaert, supplier of Metallic Porous Transport Layers for electrolysis, will supply the appropriate materials. John Cockerill, the producer of alkaline electrolyzers, will integrate the results into its production. DEME, operating in dredging and offshore energy services, aims at using the electrolysers to convert wind and solar energy into green hydrogen and derived green products (‘e-fuels’). Through the ‘Hyport®’-concept, DEME aims to import green hydrogen products into Europe, complementary to local European production. Retailer Colruyt Group will support research applications for sustainable transport. Colruyt Group is already running a hydrogen filling station, testing hydrogen-powered forklifts as well as the first heavy-duty trucks, collaborating on a green hydrogen plant in Zeebrugge through the energy holding company Virya Energy and is exploring e-fuels via Dats24.

“Colruyt Group has been producing its own green hydrogen for about ten years. Three years ago we opened the very first fully integrated public hydrogen filling station in Europe. In the coming months, four more public hydrogen filling stations will be equipped. Recently, our group put the first 44-ton hydrogen-powered electric heavy-duty truck in Europe on the roads. We clearly belief in hydrogen technology as a promising zero-emission solution for transport and logistics and are committed to invest in innovative hydrogen applications. We are convinced that with our partners in a strategic cooperation for the development of a new promising hydrogen electrolysis component, we can take important steps towards a more sustainable mobility and energy supply”, says Jef Colruyt, CEO at Colruyt Group.

Author: KS / Source: EnergyVille