The industrial hydrogen ecosystem in the Northern Netherlands is getting a substantial boost, building on the foundation of Europe's first Hydrogen Valley. The WAviatER project: hydrogen production technology for the aviation sector and energy applications at regional level, will ensure this. At the beginning of this month, the North Netherlands Cooperation Agency granted a subsidy for it from the European Regional Development Fund (EFRO). In the project, a North Netherlands consortium will develop green hydrogen technology. The consortium partners are Douna Machinery Leeuwarden, JB Besturingstechniek, REDStack, Demcon, Groningen Airport Eelde, New Energy Coalition and the University of Groningen, supported by TNO and VONK.
The first concrete application is at Groningen Airport Eelde, the 'Hydrogen Valley Airport'. There, an electrolyzer is to be developed and will produce green hydrogen as an emission-free energy carrier for light aircraft, drones and ground equipment. "In the Northern Netherlands, this is the first step towards an ecosystem of companies developing their own products for the green hydrogen economy."
For the development of hydrogen technology, the Northern Netherlands is recognised as an important centre by Europe, which proclaimed the region as Hydrogen Valley. Within the region, Groningen Airport Eelde is taking various initiatives in the field of making airports and aviation more sustainable. In addition to the existing 22MW solar park, this also includes the Hydrogen Valley Airport project of Groningen Airport Eelde, New Energy Coalition, the University of Groningen and other parties. The WAviatER project is now giving concrete shape to Hydrogen Valley Airport.
The production of "green" hydrogen takes place in a so-called electrolyser, which splits water into hydrogen and oxygen with the help of green electricity. This process is currently not yet competitive on a small scale with the large-scale, natural gas-based production of "grey" hydrogen. For decentralised applications, there is a need for small to medium-sized electrolysers that produce green hydrogen at acceptable costs. Furthermore, it is important that the electrolysers themselves are sustainable and do not depend, for example, on the use of scarce and valuable metals used in certain types of electrolysers. The WAviatER consortium will therefore develop a scalable and sustainable electrolyser for the airport. This should be cheaper to purchase compared to current alternatives, have a higher efficiency, not require scarce and valuable metals and also allow for automated series production.
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About the partners
Demcon develops, produces and supplies technology and innovative products that contribute to solving complex technological and social issues. The Demcon group has several locations in the Netherlands, including Groningen, and also in Germany, Japan and Singapore.
Through a high-quality range of facilities and a market-oriented approach, Groningen Airport Eelde aims to be the airport of first choice for holidaymakers and businesses in the North. Under the denominator NXT Airport Groningen Airport Eelde works together with partners on aviation innovation, sustainability and education.
New Energy Coalition is a continuously growing network of knowledge institutions, companies, governments and NGOs that work together in the Northern Netherlands to accelerate the energy transition for a sustainable future. New Energy Coalition is the architect of the HEAVENN project, with which the Northern Netherlands has become the first Hydrogen Valley of Europe.
The University of Groningen is an internationally oriented university with strong roots in the region. The university has the expertise and ambition to play a crucial role in the development of the Northern Netherlands into a hub for green hydrogen production.
For 98 years, Douna Machinery Leeuwarden (connecting green technologies) has been taking care of customers in all areas of the technical innovation process. This includes inventing, designing, manufacturing, supplying and servicing mechanical installations. With this expertise, Douna Machinery has built up a lot of knowledge and experience that it uses to accelerate the green energy transition.
JB Besturingstechniek in Oosterwolde is an internationally oriented family business with an open culture and self-managing teams. With approximately forty, mostly college-educated employees, the company specialises in industrial automation solutions, which it puts into operation all over the world. JB Besturingstechniek attaches great value to long-term relationships with clients, employees and suppliers.
REDstack in Sneek is a specialist in sustainable energy generation using a membrane process. This involves the controlled mixing of salt and fresh water in so-called stacks to generate electrical energy.
The consortium also has two external partners: