Blue hydrogen production is advancing in Belgium. Oil and gas major Equinor and French utility company Engie signed a joint development agreement (JDA) to move further with their H2BE low-carbon hydrogen project.
The two companies have completed the feasibility study of the project which assessed the technical and economic suitability of the potential location at Engie’s site at Rodenhuize in Ghent, Belgium. Now they are going to the next step which is signing the agreement and taking the project to the next development phase.
The H2BE project is a response to the Hydrogen Strategy that the Belgian government released on 29 October 2021. The project aims to produce hydrogen from natural gas using autothermal reforming (ATR) technology combined with carbon capture and storage. Its capacity is 1 GW which makes it one of the largest blue hydrogen projects announced to date.
H2BE involves the capture of at least 95% of CO2 emissions from the plant thanks to the ATR technology that allows for producing blue hydrogen at a large scale at competitive cost levels. The captured CO2 is planned to be transported in liquid form and to be permanently and safely stored at a site in the sub-surface of the Norwegian North Sea.
For the necessary hydrogen and CO2 infrastructure, Engie and Equinor have also joined forces with Fluxys, the independent gas transmission system operator in Belgium. According to Equinor, the partnership with Fluxys will aim to create synergies with other hydrogen and CO2-capturing projects which would consequently lower the overall costs.
The H2BE project would be a key building block for the open-access hydrogen and CO2 infrastructure Fluxys Belgium is planning to develop to connect supply and demand across industrial clusters in Belgium and neighbouring countries.
Expanding hydrogen production is critical as the clean fuel is an important part of the energy transition. More efforts are needed in increasing the efficiency of green hydrogen production as currently, it takes more energy to produce hydrogen from electrolysis than the energy given from burning the fuel.