Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten (Groen) wants to make Belgium the hydrogen hub of Europe. Before the summer she wants to come up with a strategy that should make optimal use of the potential of our country. The Minister stated this in response to a study on the role of gaseous energy carriers in a climate-neutral Belgium.
According to Van der Straeten, Belgium has all the assets to play that role of hydrogen hub. "Our unique location, in the heart of Europe, at energy crossroads in the middle of various industrial clusters, make us an ideal transit country for green hydrogen. In addition, we are pioneers in hydrogen technology and have one of the most developed hydrogen networks in the world," the minister argues.
As is well known, the ambition of the federal coalition agreement is to emit 55 percent less greenhouse gases by 2030 and to be climate-neutral by 2050. The study zooms in on the role of low-carbon and carbon-neutral gases in the climate and energy transition. The study emphasizes that the transition to climate neutrality will not happen through one particular energy carrier or technology. "It is a clear and-and story, where the supply of sufficient, secure, climate-neutral and affordable energy is crucial," the report states.
"Electricity, methane, hydrogen and CO2 capture: these are the main components of the energy system of the future," Van der Straeten adds. "A strategic combination of these four elements will make the energy switch to 100 percent renewable energy possible, while ensuring security of supply and affordability."
According to the minister, the potential for hydrogen in the energy transition has never been greater. Belgium has a lot of heavy industry, which accounts for almost 30 percent of total CO2 emissions, but it is precisely this sector that would be best suited to switch to hydrogen. "Hydrogen plays a crucial role in decarbonizing heavy industry, and this is an essential piece of the puzzle if we as a country want to meet our climate goals."
As stated by Van der Straeten, our country has the technology in place to produce it itself, but it will also require cooperation with countries and regions for imports. She notes that Belgium's location makes it an ideal transit country for hydrogen. From the relaunch plan, funds were allocated to provide our country with a "hydrogen and CO2 backbone," it reads. "This will become the basis for supporting the further development of H2 backbones across Europe and enabling hydrogen imports in the future."