Dutch plan to turn water into hydrogen

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An investigation has started in the Netherlands on a scheme to make hydrogen by electrolysing water on a large scale.

The idea being investigated by AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals and Gasunie New Energy is to use a 20-megawatt water electrolysis unit driven by sustainably produced electricity. It would be capable of producing 3,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year – enough to fuel 300 hydrogen buses.

Delfzijl in the north of the Netherlands has been chosen as the location for the project because of its large-scale production and import of green electricity, the existing chemical industry, and the current gas transmission infrastructure.

So far, the largest planned electrolysis unit in the Netherlands has a capacity of one megawatt. The eventual aim is to be able to build installations that convert and store sustainable energy in the form of hydrogen on an even larger scale (from 100 megawatts).

Marcel Galjee, energy director at AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, said: “The vast majority of the more than 800,000 tons of hydrogen used by Dutch industry each year is produced using natural gas. Replacing this by sustainably produced hydrogen will reduce CO2 emissions by seven million tons. However, the real potential is in large-scale production as the basis for green chemistry.”

A final decision on the project is expected in 2019.

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