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LEUVEN, May 28, 2021 — Flemish research centres imec and VITO (partners in EnergyVille), together with industrial pioneers Bekaert, Colruyt Group, DEME and John Cockerill announced today that they are joining forces to invest in the production of green hydrogen. Under the flag of Hyve, the consortium aims at a cost-efficient and sustainable production of hydrogen at gigawatt level. Hyve will put the Flemish region in the driver seat for the deployment of a hydrogen economy and the transition towards a carbon neutral industry in Europe.
The EU’s commitment to reaching climate neutrality by 2050, as part of Europe’s Green Deal, will only be reached when we drastically transform our energy system. Within the Green Deal, hydrogen technology is considered essential in the energy transition towards a carbon neutral society. Especially in the chemical industry, the steel and cement industry, and in heavy duty transport, green hydrogen is considered key in decarbonisation. Today, the chemical industry depends on grey hydrogen, produced by reforming natural gas. Unfortunately, this process involves the emission of large quantities of CO2. Green hydrogen, on the other hand, is produced through the electrolysis of water using renewable energy. To make green hydrogen competitive, the price of green electricity should further decrease, electrolysers should be made more cost-efficient and the economy of scale should do its trick lowering the production costs.
The Hyve consortium brings together players across the value chain to achieve this ambitious goal, merging expertise in developing new components for electrolysis, with material suppliers, integration companies that will integrate the new components into their electrolysers, and companies that will use this innovative infrastructure to generate green hydrogen.
Flemish research centres imec and VITO (partners in EnergyVille) will leverage their knowledge to boost the efficiency of the electrolysis-technology. Imec’s expertise in solid state electrolytes, electrode surfaces, and process technology at nanoscale is combined with VITO’s expertise in membranes, catalysis, and system integration. Bekaert, world market and technology leader in steel wire and coating technologies, will provide the appropriate materials. John Cockerill, world leader in the production of alkaline electrolyzers, will integrate the results into its production. DEME, worldwide leader in dredging and offshore energy services, aims at using the novel electrolysers to convert wind and solar energy into green hydrogen and derived green products ('e-fuels'). Through the ‘Hyport®’-concept, DEME aims to import cheap green hydrogen products into Europe, complementary to local European production. Retailer Colruyt Group will support research applications for sustainable transport. Colruyt Group is already running a hydrogen filling station, testing hydrogen-powered forklifts as well as the first heavy-duty trucks, collaborating on a green hydrogen plant in Zeebrugge through the energy holding company Virya Energy and is exploring e-fuels via Dats24.
“Bekaert has a commitment to create green and sustainable solutions. Therefore, we look forward to work closely with the consortium partners and develop the building blocks for this electrolysis technology of the future, fully consistent with our ‘better together’ aspiration. We are committed to delivering long-term value to all our stakeholders and as such, create sustainable business partnerships. Like the one of this consortium”, says Oswald Schmid, CEO at Bekaert.