About hydrogen

Fuelling the hydrogen sector with sustainable and smart solutions

Noe van Hulst
Dutch Special Envoy for Hydrogen, Noé van Hulst, 
“Hydrogen is the missing link in the energy transition.”

Hydrogen is not a new focus area in the energy supply chain. As early as the beginning of the last century, hydrogen was produced on a large scale from coal (coal gasification), and until the 1960s it was used as town gas in the built environment, namely a combination of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Hydrogen has also been used as raw material in the chemistry industry.

Powering sustainability

Today, hydrogen is becoming an increasingly important renewable energy source, besides wind and solar PV. In October 2019, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs published a report, which highlights the opportunities hydrogen can offer to Dutch industry and how it will become an important element in our future clean energy system.

More than half of the world population will live in urban areas and will rise to over 6.5 billion people by 2050. Creating a safe and prosperous living environment (SDG 11) requires us to transform the way we build and manage our urban spaces, as well as vital resources such as energy and water. For that reason, the Netherlands has set an ambitious goal to achieve a fully sustainable energy supply (zero carbon emission) by 2050.

Developing a green hydrogen economy

The Netherlands is already the second largest hydrogen producer in Europe. This is currently mostly so-called grey hydrogen, produced via steam-methane reforming (SMR) of natural gas, or produced as by-product from chemical processes. However, with the increased offshore renewable energy capacity, the Netherlands has high potential to develop a green hydrogen economy. Hydrogen can contribute to emission reductions in the transportation sector, clean up the petrochemical industry and accelerate the energy transition.

With a strong focus on sustainability and innovation, the Netherlands builds on the potential of hydrogen, phasing up to 2030, as part of the National Climate Agreement. Governmental support for R&D, feasibility studies and business cases contribute to the development of the hydrogen sector. However, international cooperation is needed to fuel the hydrogen sector even further.

An Integrated Approach