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First green Belgian hydrogen plant expects permit by mid-2022

Engineering firm Sweco is overseeing the permit process for the 25 megawatt green hydrogen production unit in Zeebrugge. This is a first for Belgium and further strengthens our hydrogen ambitions. The client is the Hyoffwind consortium (Virya Energy and Fluxys), which has chosen John Cockerill and BESIX as its technology partners and as its partners for the design and construction.

Sweco is responsible for applying for the relevant environmental permit (for construction and operation) and for the subsidies for this electrolysis plant for green hydrogen. Through our energy specialists, we are also involved in other green hydrogen developments in Belgium and the Netherlands with the deployment of engineering for compression, cooling and storage modalities according to the strict safety requirements for high pressure hydrogen.

The permit application was submitted in late 2021 and the consortium expects the permit to be issued by mid-2022. The final investment decision, which is also subject to the granting of subsidies by the Flemish Government as part of the recovery plan, will be taken in the course of 2022. The Flemish Minister of Economy and Innovation, Hilde Crevits, has supported the project since 2020, as it fits perfectly within the Flemish hydrogen strategy.

Tom Van Den Noortgaete, Division Director Energy & Environment at Sweco Belgium: “Sweco has strong technical expertise in the engineering of industrial process installations and plays a special, international, pioneering role in hydrogen projects. We are also responsible for the complete design and the applications for permits and subsidies for the two Vision H2 green hydrogen plants in the North Sea Port area. Once all these plants have been completed, our economy and society will become more sustainable.”

Sara Vander Beken, Operational Manager Energy Transition at Sweco Belgium: “Hydrogen will play a vital role in Europe’s future energy mix. Belgium has expressed its ambition to become a leader in this field. We are well positioned to do this because of our central location and through our existing industry and infrastructure. Green hydrogen is intended for activities that cannot simply switch to electricity, such as heavy industry, freight traffic and shipping.”

Towards a hydrogen economy in Belgium and Europe
In its initial phase, the planned project will consist of a plant that is capable of converting 25 MW of electricity into green hydrogen, but in its second phase, the partners envisage scaling that up to 100 MW. This pioneering project, combined with the development of the hydrogen infrastructure, will make a significant contribution to the Flemish, as well as the Belgian and European hydrogen strategy by taking the first step towards developing Flanders and Belgium as a European hub for green hydrogen.

Collaboration between partners throughout the energy chain
The Hyoffwind project is being developed by a consortium with activities across the entire energy value chain. The consortium consists of Virya Energy (production and commercialisation of renewable energy) and Fluxys (transportation of green molecules), and it aims to develop a power-to-gas plant that is capable of converting renewable electricity into green hydrogen.

Green hydrogen is a crucial building block for an economy based on renewable energy, as it can be used as a raw material for industrial processes and for a range of mobility applications. Hyoffwind will also contribute to the flexibility and balance of the energy system by providing an effective solution to the increased variability arising from renewable electricity production.

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