The hydrogen pipeline: a game changer for the Brainport region
As the world moves toward a more sustainable future, we are increasingly seeing large-scale, ambitious projects emerge. One of these is the Delta-Rhine Corridor.
We are on the eve of a transition to a sustainable future, in which clean fuels are indispensable. A reliable supply of green hydrogen, via the so-called Delta-Rhine Corridor, can raise sustainability ambitions of companies in the Brainport region to new heights. "It is an absolute opportunity for DAF, and the entire region," said Ronald Stegers, Energy Manager at DAF Trucks.
- The Delta-Rhine Hydrogen Corridor offers opportunities for safe transportation of hydrogen, which is critical to achieving environmental goals.
- The region is pursuing a hydrogen corridor branch to Brainport, opening the way for large-scale sustainable initiatives.
Hydrogen plays an important role in the energy transition. The "fuel of the future" serves, even now, as a catalyst for innovation and sustainability in mobility, aviation and industry. In order to achieve climate goals, however, Germany and the Netherlands need more low-CO2 hydrogen than can currently be produced domestically. The aim of the Delta-Rhine Corridor is to transport hydrogen from Germany and the Netherlands to storage sites in the North Sea and possible customers, including in Eindhoven. The initiative for the hundreds of kilometers long underground connection is being led by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) in cooperation with a consortium of international companies, including Gasunie, OGE, Shell and BASF. A total of six pipelines are planned to transport various substances. Gasunie will take charge of transporting hydrogen. The underground "highway" is expected to be ready for use in 2028.
With a keen eye on the future, Stegers sees numerous benefits from the pipeline. "It offers an excellent opportunity to become CO2 neutral on site. On our site we already have the necessary infrastructure for natural gas, for heating and the hardening plant, among other things. We have large central boilers that can be adapted relatively easily to burn hydrogen to generate heat. With a hydrogen pipeline, we would only have to make a few modifications to the boiler, while the rest of the system could remain unchanged. This is both simple and extremely effective."
Hydrogen also holds great promise for powering trucks, Stegers continued. "We are currently working on both hydrogen combustion engines (where hydrogen is injected into the engine instead of diesel) and fuel cell trucks (which use the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity). While both technologies are not yet ripe for market introduction, we will want to expand testing at some point. Then it will be nice if we don't have to supply the hydrogen with tanker trucks but can get it from a pipeline. The reduction in transport movements is not only safer but also significantly more sustainable."
"It provides an excellent opportunity to become carbon neutral on site."
Ronald Stegers, Energy Manager at DAF Trucks
Brainport and hydrogen
Brainport and hydrogen have been inextricably linked for years. In the region, numerous initiatives and companies are flourishing in the field of hydrogen technology. DAF Trucks, as well as VDL and E-trucks Europe, have been devoting themselves to the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles and transport solutions for a number of years. There is also a lot of knowledge in the region about making (parts) of electrolyzers needed to make hydrogen, such as at TU Eindhoven and companies like VDL, Prodrive, SALD BV and Fluidwell.
The student team SOLID at Eindhoven University of Technology has also created an alternative technology for the safe storage and transport of hydrogen. This innovative concept uses small iron balls as an efficient energy carrier. Start-up RIFT is developing this further.
The entire region
The potential of a tributary extends beyond the gates of DAF Trucks. It opens up a wide range of opportunities for different sectors and companies in the Eindhoven region, including industries with high heat demand. The pipeline thus has the potential to anchor Brainport as a hotbed of sustainable innovation. The Municipality of Eindhoven has begun an inventory of companies that will use hydrogen in the future and would benefit from the hydrogen pipeline.
Rik Thijs, alderman for climate, energy, land and greening at the Municipality of Eindhoven: "The Brainport region is of strategic importance for the Netherlands and core cities Eindhoven-Helmond are together one of the 100 European cities with a great ambition to be climate neutral by 2030. We need hydrogen to keep producing, to make production processes more sustainable, and to enable companies to supply residual heat to homes in our (future) energy supply. We need to look at the business case for a hydrogen pipeline to the Brainport broadly, and not just from current connections!"
As 2028 approaches, Stegers hopes for a positive outcome. "Without the pipeline, it will be a challenge to meet our CO2 reduction targets. With electrification alone, we're simply not going to make it. This pipeline is, for the entire region, an excellent opportunity to achieve our goals," concludes the Energy Manager.
Companies that foresee using a lot of hydrogen in the future can contact Julia van Opdorp of the Municipality of Eindhoven.