Posted on July 12, 2023
Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy, and Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, met today at the Antwerp Port House. The meeting focused on the Port of Antwerp-Bruges’ hydrogen ambitions, with hydrogen being an essential link in a sustainable and robust energy system. After the consultations, the Commissioner headed into the port by ship and stopped at INEOS Inovyn in Lillo, where she saw an electrolysis process in operation, one of the most widely used technologies for producing hydrogen. Earlier today, as part of the same theme, she visited one of Fluxys’ work sites, which is building a hydrogen-ready pipeline.
Further development of infrastructure to receive, capture, if necessary transform and transport renewable energy is high on the agenda for the Port of Antwerp-Bruges. After all, ports play an important role in the import, transit, use, and export of green energy flows. This is both the case for the growing volumes of North Sea wind energy – and the grids needed to bring it ashore – and the green hydrogen flows connecting the Port of Antwerp-Bruges to the other continents. The port platform has long been preparing to receive the first major import flows of hydrogen carriers such as ammonia and methanol by 2026 – to be consumed directly or converted back to hydrogen. On the one hand, this is taking place through concrete projects at the port platform itself, such as the development of a crucial pipeline network and the further extension of suitable receiving terminals. On the other hand, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges is committed to international collaborations with major exporting countries, such as Oman and Namibia.
Alongside the development of critical infrastructure and engaging in international collaborations, a sound European policy framework is indispensable for making the hydrogen market a reality. Energy transition and energy independence are an absolute priority for the European Commission. The REPowerEU plan is among the things that demonstrate this. This plan emphasizes the need to provide import opportunities in addition to local renewable energy production. One of the instruments that Europe is additionally developing is the ‘European Hydrogen Bank’: a mechanism that provides financial support to encourage investment in sustainable hydrogen production and purchase to European off-takers.
These initiatives were discussed at length during the talks between CEO Jacques Vandermeiren and European Commissioner Kadri Simson. Both agreed that the launch of the international hydrogen market needs a clear signal from the European Commission. The international pillar of the European Hydrogen Bank will be crucial in this.
Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy: “Today’s visit to Port of Antwerp-Bruges has shown me that the transformation to become a major decarbonisation hub is already happening, with multiple projects on renewable hydrogen and carbon-capture, use and storage. The availability of renewable hydrogen is essential in a decarbonised economy and the EU policy for renewable hydrogen has been developing rapidly in the last years. A quick deployment of projects to import, produce, use and transit hydrogen, as witnessed here, will be fundamental for the success of the European Green Deal.”
Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO Port of Antwerp-Bruges: “The Port of Antwerp-Bruges is a major hub for energy supplies today and tomorrow, for our country and the rest of Europe. The necessary energy transition will not come about with isolated initiatives, but is a matter of collaboration. By engaging with European policy-makers like Commissioner Kadri Simson, we are making supply chains more efficient, sustainable, safe and reliable, across borders too.”