Energy companies Engie and Equinor have announced the H2BE project which aims to develop production of low-carbon hydrogen from natural gas in Belgium.
The Belgian federal government released its Hydrogen Strategy in late October and the H2BE project will help Belgium deliver on the strategy. The project aims at producing hydrogen from natural gas using autothermal reforming (ATR) technology combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS).
The ATR technology allows for decarbonization rates above 95 percent and for producing hydrogen at a large scale at competitive cost levels. The captured CO2 is planned to be transported in liquid form and to be permanently and safely stored at a site in the sub-surface of the North Sea.
Engie and Equinor now launched a feasibility study to assess the technical and economic suitability of a site in the Ghent area. Commercial talks with potential hydrogen off-takers, predominantly large, hard-to-abate industries, continue simultaneously.
Moreover, discussions are ongoing with North Sea Port on integration with port infrastructure. The H2BE project fits within “Connect 2025”, the recently published strategic plan of North Sea Port, by accelerating the transition towards carbon neutrality and the development of the required hydrogen and CO2 infrastructure.
The partners aim to start operations well before 2030 to contribute to Belgium’s 2030 interim decarbonization targets.
Engie and Equinor also joined forces on the project with Fluxys, the independent gas transmission system operator in Belgium. Fluxys will be in charge of putting in place hydrogen and CO2 infrastructure connecting supply and demand across industrial clusters in Belgium and neighboring countries.
“Engie is convinced that decarbonized thermal energy is required to achieve carbon neutrality in our economy, alongside renewable electricity sources. Therefore, Engie is fully committed to developing renewable and low-carbon hydrogen solutions. We firmly believe that renewable and low-carbon hydrogen, with multiple uses and advantages, have everything to be the undeniable ally to accelerate the development of a solid infrastructure and the transition to a carbon-neutral economy,” Edouard Neviaski, CEO of the Engie’s Global Energy Management entity, stated.
“We are glad to pursue our work on this project with Equinor, a long-standing partner for more than 40 years. We are convinced that our project is a strong tool for a successful implementation of the Belgian hydrogen strategy released by the federal government end of October,” he added.
“We are delighted to launch the H2BE project. Together with our partners, we have developed a foundation that has the potential to deliver reliable low-carbon hydrogen from natural gas to enable large-scale decarbonization of industries, including continuous and flexible electricity production,” Grete Tveit, Equinor’s Senior Vice President for Low Carbon Solutions,” claimed.
“Equinor believes that hydrogen and CCS are vital to succeed with the energy transition and to reach net-zero ambitions. Together with our partners, we have strong and complementary expertise covering all parts of the value chain. We will leverage this when moving this project forward with the goal of realization and contribution to the success of Belgium’s hydrogen economy,” Tveit concluded.