Fluxys works on industrial carbon, hydrogen
Belgian infrastructure operator Fluxys has said it is working with ArcelorMittal and the government on a network of pipelines for hydrogen, CO2 and heat along the Belgian North Sea coast, following an agreement signed June 2.
The country is criss-crossed with high-pressure gas pipelines carrying imports from Norway, the Netherlands and the UK and regasified LNG. Some of these may be repurposed to carry CO2 or hydrogen, or to carry a mix of hydrogen and methane.
Federal energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten said Belgium's "unique location in the heart of Europe" made it the ideal country for fully exploiting the benefits of hydrogen. Its heavy industry accounts for nearly 30% of total CO2 emissions, and this sector is "best suited for switching to hydrogen." Chemicals and steel are the country's largest industrial CO2 emitters. Producing 9.6mn metric tons/year of CO2, the ArcelorMittal plant in Ghent accounts for 8% of Belgium's total.
Companies that produce, import, transport and store hydrogen, CO2 and heat will be able to connect with companies that use these as raw materials in their production processes. The new network in the Belgian part of North Sea Port will be connected to the pipeline network in the Netherlands, which is critically important for industry in and around the cross-border port zone.
Fluxys CEO Pascal De Buck said the market's response to its consultation had been broad and positive and given it justification to "build bridges between demand and production. In this way we lay the foundation for the transport of the molecules for a carbon neutral future."
ArcelorMittal Belgium CEO Manfred Van Vlierberghe said that replacing fossil carbon with green and circular carbon and hydrogen would lower its carbon footprint. "We are also increasingly replacing 'fresh' raw materials with waste materials and transforming our own waste materials into new raw materials," he said.
The hydrogen and CO2 infrastructure will also be needed to enable the reuse of CO2, such as in projects like North-C-Methanol where an industrial consortium including Engie will combine green hydrogen with CO2 for the production of green methanol. The cross-border nature of hydrogen infrastructure is important when it comes to linking up wind farms in Zeeland, whereby wind energy is used to produce hydrogen.
Ports are becoming a part of the essential decarbonising infrustructure: a group of companies is working on decarbonising the UK port of Immingham, although the scheme there, announced June 2, is different.