A vital step on the road to achieving climate targets

Nouryon – formerly AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals –, Tata Steel and the Port of Amsterdam are aiming to build a huge green hydrogen cluster in the Amsterdam Area. Hydrogen is highly useful for storing excess energy, which is particularly interesting for energy from renewable sources. The supply of this tends to fluctuate heavily, and hydrogen can act as a buffer. Hydrogen is considered ‘green’ when renewable sources are also used to help generate it. According to a statement, the three parties consider green hydrogen a vital tool to help achieve climate targets. “Tata Steel is a strong supporter of hydrogen as a facilitator of the energy transition,” says Hans Fischer, CEO of Tata Steel Europe.

Substantial carbon saving

The first step of the joint effort is to study the feasibility of a water electrolysis facility at Tata Steel’s IJmuiden site. Nouryon will operate the facility, which will be fuelled by offshore wind, while Tata Steel will use the oxygen to further enhance the sustainability of its production processes. The parties estimate this facility to produce up to 15,000 tons of hydrogen per year, as well as oxygen. By using energy from renewable sources, it could enable an annual carbon saving that’s equivalent to the emissions of more than 40,000 households.

Working together

The three parties aim to reach sufficient scale to absorb all emissions from Tata Steel’s plant in IJmuiden and use it for the production of new materials; they will explore different ways to use hydrogen for turning steel mill emissions into useful chemicals and new products, hoping to create a more circular economy. The Port of Amsterdam will focus on the infrastructure for further distribution of green hydrogen, which will be the basis for the development of new industries and zero-emission transport in the Amsterdam Area: the green hydrogen cluster could enable emissions-free buses and heavy transport in the entire Amsterdam area.

High ambitions

Following the initial phase, the three partners expect to make a final investment decision in 2021. They have stated the ambition to further scale-up the technology. “This project could be a stepping stone to make large quantities of affordable hydrogen available in the future to enable us to become a CO2 neutral steel producer,” says Fischer.  Knut Schwalenberg, managing director of industrial chemicals at Nouryon, adds: “This partnership builds on our existing initiatives to support the development of a sustainable chemical industry. Green hydrogen is a realistic alternative for fossil-based raw materials and enables new forms of green chemistry, such as using steel mill gas, CO2, or waste to make plastics and move to new, circular value chains.” Koen Overtoom, CEO of the Port of Amsterdam, adds: “Large-scale production of green hydrogen, fuelled by offshore wind, will enable the Amsterdam-North Sea canal region to make a leap forward towards a climate neutral circular industry. It will support our ambition towards synthetic fuels and synthetic kerosene and emission-free mobility.”