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GLOBALOUTLOOK EXECUTIVEDECISION


Europe’shydrogenvalley T


HYZON MOTORS HAS PICKED GRONINGEN IN THE NETHERLANDS TO PRODUCE ITS ZERO-EMISSION TRUCKS. JACOPO DETTONI REPORTS


he Groningen gas field provokes bittersweet feelings among the citizens of the north-eastern Netherlands.


Europe’s largest gas field of its kind, it created thousands of jobs and supplied the whole country with energy for years. It still does – however, its fortunes faltered


after the area began to experience quakes. The emptying of the rock basin containing the gas field caused the ground to sink after every tremor, and triggered local discontent as properties became damaged. Dutch authorities have ordered a gradual decommissioning of the gas field. However, nowthey are betting on another gas to reboot the regional economy: hydrogen.


Aneweconomy “Authorities started envisioning a hydrogen economy some eight years ago, when many municipalities converted their vehicle fleet to hydrogen, and companies started to work on things such as hydrogen vehicles and filling stations,” Max Holthausen, managing director of HyzonMotors Europe, tells fDi Magazine. “Many projects sprang up, and that gave us a head start over other countries.” After pioneering somevehicle and


hydrogen stations projects, Mr Holthausen teamed up with his technology supplier, Singapore-based Horizon Fuel Cells, and its US-based vehicle spin-off, HyzonMotors, to manufacture hydrogen-powered trucks in Groningen. It planned an annual capacity of 2000 trucks to be reached within three years with a budgeted investment of €40m. Mr Holthausen believes locating the new


facility in Groningenmakes sense on different levels. “Local authorities gave us a chance to stand at the pointwhere we are at now. Nowwe want to place the factory here in Groningen as a way to give back and create local jobs,” he says. Besides this, he adds:“We have schools that


train people to be hydrogen engineers, universities working with the hydrogen economy, and a large number of people with the operational and practical side of it.”


Green concept Groningen also has a chance to prove the concept of ‘green’ hydrogen. Currently, most industrial hydrogen is still extracted from fossil fuels such as natural gas. Green hydrogen uses electricity to extract hydrogen and oxygen from water through electrolysis. Oil giant Shell, which operated the Groningen gas fields with Exxon for decades,


14


European Union, which granted €20m to a project called Heavenn. Its main goal is to make Groningen a blueprint for a “hydrogen valley” able to install large-scale production of green hydrogen and distribute it through retrofitting existing natural gas pipelines, for industrial and mobility use. Hydrogen fuel cells have been around


has teamed up with Dutch gas company Gasunie to develop a 3–4 gigawatt (GW) wind farmoff the Groningen coast by 2030, which will power a hydrogen production plant. The province gained the backing of the


for decades, but have struggled to take off due to costs and sparse infrastructure. The technology may nowbe approaching a turning point however. The European Commission unveiled a


green hydrogen strategy in July, setting the goal of 6GW of renewable electrolyser capacity by 2024, and 40GWby 2030. It expects cumulative investments in renewable hydrogen in Europe to reach between €180bn and €470bn by 2050. Major developments are already


happening on the ground. South Korean giant Hyundai is shipping its first hydrogen trucks to Europe, and the network of European hydrogen filling stations is growing, although it is currently concentrated in countries such as Germany and Denmark. With this in mind, Mr Holthausen is


setting the bar high.“We want to be a new original equipment manufacturer, and we will scale up as demand picks up,” he concludes.■


www.fDiIntelligence.com August/September 2020


Going green: Dutch company Hyzon Motors Europe is expanding its offerings in the hydrogen power industry PROJECTPROFILE


HYZONMOTORS EUROPE Location Groningen


Investment €40m


Target capacity 2000 hydrogen trucks per year


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