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    Belgium Mulls Hydrogen Import Terminal


Hydrogen is key for meeting emissions targets, but Europe cannot produce enough of the fuel itself, the project partners say.

by: Joe Murphy

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Belgium Mulls Hydrogen Import Terminal

A group of companies including Belgium's Fluxys and France's Engie has completed a study that shows that the development of a Belgian hydrogen import terminal is both technically and economically feasible.

Fluxys and Engie, along with Belgian shipping firm Exmar, engineering company Deme, hydrogen specialist WaterstofNet and port authorities in Antwerp and Zeebrugge, began their study over a year ago. The study mapped out financial, technical and regulatory aspects of an entire hydrogen import chain, from production abroad to delivery via ships to pipelines for distribution and industrial applications.

Hydrogen will help Belgium reach its goal to curb CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050, but Europe cannot produce enough of the fuel itself and so imports are needed to bridge the gap, Fluxys explained in a statement on January 27. The project partners have in mind green hydrogen, produced from water using renewable energy-powered electrolysis. But an import terminal could also receive natural gas-based blue hydrogen.

Looking ahead, the partners will analyse how Belgium's ports can receive future hydrogen carriers, and are devising pilot projects. 

"Hydrogen will play a decisive role in the energy transition and in making our industry sustainable," Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo said. "This study provides essential new insights for the further roll-out of a hydrogen economy and the further reduction of CO2 emissions. The next step is to develop a long-term strategy for importing hydrogen."