Latham, New York-based Plug Power announced Wednesday it will produce 35 tons of green hydrogen a day at a new plant in the Port of Antwerp-Bruges in Belgium, starting in 2025.
The agreement includes plans to build a 100-megawatt green hydrogen plant on 28 acres of land that can produce up to 12,500 tons of liquid and gaseous green hydrogen annually. Green hydrogen is produced by using electrolyzers powered by renewable electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
“As Europe grapples with the challenges of climate change and energy security, our agreement with Port of Antwerp-Bruges will deliver much-needed natively generated, green hydrogen to local markets,” Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG), said in a release.
The plant is predicted to be commissioned in early 2025, following the anticipated completion of the permitting process in late 2023.
Minister-President of Flanders Jan Jambon noted: “Hydrogen plays an important role in the energy transition and at the same time offers many economic and societal opportunities for Flanders. Due to the strategic location of our ports and the expertise of our companies, research centers and educational institutions, we have all the assets to become the hydrogen hub of Western Europe. An opportunity that we must not miss. I am therefore very pleased to welcome Plug in Flanders,”
Port of Antwerp-Bruges as a hydrogen hub
The Port of Antwerp-Bruges handles 289 million tons of maritime freight, 108.5 million tons of barge freight and 24 million tons of rail freight annually, making it one of the busiest logistics areas in Europe, the release said.
The port is at the center of a major chemical industry cluster in Europe and can reach 60% of Europe’s purchasing power within 300 miles. Less than an hour’s drive to Brussels, the port is “set to become a major hydrogen hub for Europe,” the release said.
“The ambition for Port of Antwerp-Bruges is clear — to become the world’s first port that reconciles economy, people and climate. As well as growing in a sustainable way, the Port also aims to focus on its unique position as a logistics, maritime and industrial centre and to take the lead in the transition to a circular and low-carbon economy,” the port said.
A circular economy focuses on reusing products and turning them into different products instead of sending them to landfills.
Optimal plant location
The plant will be located in the port’s NextGen District. The area is dedicated to supporting a circular economy. Plug Power is exploring partnerships to complete the circular use of wastewater released during the production of green hydrogen.
“The signing of Plug Power is a confirmation of the attractiveness of our port and NextGen District. Their project is exactly what we have in mind when it comes to the circular economy. We are giving hydrogen every opportunity as an energy carrier and fuel and are therefore committing ourselves as an active pioneer in the hydrogen economy,” Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO for the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, said in the release.
Many heavy manufacturing industries have facilities surrounding the port. Plug Power will help decarbonize logistics flows in and around the port.
Wind turbines on-site and nearby will generate dozens of megawatts of renewable electricity to power the electrolyzers that produce green hydrogen. There is water, road, rail and pipeline access from the site to deliver it to customers.
Plug Power signed a contract with natural gas distributor Fluxys to conduct a feasibility study for connecting this site to what will be an open-access hydrogen pipeline.
Decarbonization and energy independence
Many countries surrounding the North Sea have invested heavily in wind power, totaling more than 15 gigawatts of capacity, the release said. Belgium, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands have recently committed to grow capacity to 65 GW by 2030 and 150 GW by 2050.
REPowerEU, a $315 billion initiative, was recently launched by the European Union to support the shift from Russian fossil fuels to renewable energy, including green hydrogen.
“The energy crisis in Europe resulting from geopolitical risks has accelerated the demand for green hydrogen development projects,” Marsh said.
Plug Power is aiming to build out end-to-end hydrogen services around the world, including key regions such as North America and Europe.
“Plug is already one of the largest investors in the European hydrogen economy, and one of the largest employers in Europe among the hydrogen pure players. Our investment in a green hydrogen production plant in the heart of Europe deepens our commitment to the European market,” Marsh said. “Europe is determined to shift from foreign sources of fossil fuel energy to local sources of green energy, and we are helping to deliver on their vision.”