Energy turnaround through ports
Cooperative projects in Belgium and Germany. Importing, storing and distributing sustainable energy resources have become key factors determining strategic locations in logistics. This calls for international cooperation between ports and enterprises.
Energy, which for a long time was merely ‘important’, has become a crucial issue in 2022, under the impact of global supply shortages. Ports in particular are proving to be suitable engines of development – in some cases also for projects tackled in partnership.
The ports of Amsterdam and Duisport, for example, are deepening their cooperation by jointly expanding the hydrogen value chain and their hinterland network. Markus Bangen, the CEO of Duisport, and Koen Overtoom, his opposite number at the port of Amsterdam, recently signed a declaration of intent to this effect.
The ports, directly linked by the Rhine as well as by overland routes, are assigning an additional role to their joint subsidiary, Hafen Duisburg / Amsterdam Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH. Amsterdam and Duisport will jointly explore the potential of hydrogen carrier technologies, in order to establish an international supply chain for hydrogen – and to run it profitably.
Capacities to import green hydrogen carriers, store them in intermediate storage facilities, and subsequently distribute them will play an important role in the energy transition. The port of Amsterdam, part of the H2A consortium, which aims to import 1 million t of green hydrogen through its facilities, will now also help to connect the inland port of Duisport to this platform.
In this way, establishing an end-to-end value chain for green hydrogen carriers between the two ports should succeed. Both ports want to set up further projects to develop their corresponding hinterland networks, in addition to existing daily barge connections and the Amsterdam–Duisburg rail shuttle, introduced in 2019.
‘Next-Gen District’ rapidly filling up
The port of Antwerp-Bruges is also prioritising the energy sector. The key here is to attract players from the industry to what it has called its ‘Next-Gen District’, a former General Motors site covering 88 ha.
Triple Helix and Bolder Industries, for example, were two early entrants, and now new concessionaires Plug and Ekopak have also signed up. This is another success for the new cluster in Antwerp, which focuses on the circular economy and is located in the immediate vicinity of Europe’s largest energy cluster.
The Nasdaq-listed group Plug Power, in turn, is also planning a green hydrogen production plant there that will produce 12,500 t of liquid and gaseous green hydrogen a year for the European market. The construction of the 100 MW plant with its own electrolyser and liquefaction technology will go ahead on a 28 ha site.
Recycling wastewater in Antwerp
Ekopak, a water recycler that is listed on the Euronext stock exchange in Brussels and is headquartered in Tielt (Belgium), is set to build a new wastewater treatment plant. At full capacity the facility is expected to produce approximately 3,000 m³ / h of sustainable cooling and process water, allowing at least 20 billion l of wastewater to be reused every year.