Various initiatives have been adopted, both by the business community and policymakers, to achieve the start-up of what might be called “the hydrogen economy”. Despite these initiatives, the developments towards the “hydrogen economy” is still in its early stages where numerous questions remain unanswered concerning various aspects of the hydrogen value chain.
HyDelta is a national research programme and collaboration focused on the large scale implementation of hydrogen in the Netherlands. Our journey is focused on research to resolve technical, scientific and social barriers that prevent a carbon-neutral economy. With the ongoing energy transition, awareness has grown that the production and application of carbon-neutral hydrogen is an indispensable component of this transition
- Which standards and regulations are required for hydrogen?
- How can the hydrogen value chain look like?
- Can existing safety and equipment work with hydrogen?
- What are the most important safety aspects for hydrogen?
All these questions cannot be answered without research, and without such answers there will be no progress in investment programmes and deployment. Therefore, at the present stage, research programmes are the key to progress in the hydrogen economy.
What is HyDelta?
HyDelta is a Dutch national research programme aimed at removing barriers towards a large-scale implementaiton of hydrogen in the Netherlands and in particular the safe integration of hydrogen into the existing gas transport and distribution infrastructure. The research results are publicly available so that the whole society can benefit from the insights generated in this research programme.
The hydrogen economy
Worldwide, but certainly within the EU, awareness has grown that the production and application of carbon-neutral hydrogen is an indispensable component of the energy transition. In the Netherlands, too, various initiatives have been taken, both by the business community and by policymakers, to achieve the start-up of what might be called 'the hydrogen economy'. This is evident, for example, from the substantial series of diverse hydrogen-related investment projects that are in the pipeline in our country, but also from the national and regional policy and investment initiatives, as expressed, for example, in the Dutch government's vision on hydrogen of 30 March 2020 and subsequently, or from the collection of hydrogen projects supported by TKI Nieuw Gas.
Despite the initiatives mentioned above, the development towards the 'hydrogen economy' is still in its early stages. Numerous questions remain unanswered concerning various aspects of the hydrogen value chain, ranging from technical questions relating to the production of hydrogen and the incorporation of hydrogen in the transport and storage system or in various applications, to questions relating to its economic and legal aspects: when is there a business case to release investments, and what regulations are required before a hydrogen system or its components can be put to daily practice?
The key to progress
All these questions cannot be answered without research, and without such answers there will be no progress in investment programmes and deployment. Thus, at the present stage, research programmes are the key to progress in the hydrogen economy.
It is therefore important that research activities are carried out as soon as possible, since the continued presence of uncertainties in topics such as finance and safety, are likely to create a bottleneck in the development of the hydrogen economy. These urgent questions will focus on a large number of aspects relating to technology, safety, network integrity and costs of the future transport of hydrogen through the existing transmission and distribution network or in other ways. After all, the basic technical knowledge about the production of carbon-neutral hydrogen is already available; even in the field of large-scale storage of hydrogen in salt caverns there is already decades of experience (USA), as well as the application of hydrogen in industrial processes, albeit almost exclusively grey hydrogen has been used so far.
There is still a large and fundamental knowledge gap regarding the transport of hydrogen -other than via containers, cylinders, and to some extent regarding initial applications outside industry- simply due to a lack of experience. However, research by Kiwa (2018), for example, has shown that the existing (natural gas) distribution network can be made suitable for the transport of hydrogen; the prospect of being able to use the existing network for hydrogen transport is therefore favourable.
Since winter 2020 the HyDelta consortium has focused on the development of an initiating research programme on hydrogen with a strong focus on transport, based on the question of which aspects require the most acute response. This process has resulted in a portfolio of several coherent work packages that were considered urgent from the perspective of the gas and energy sectors.
A description of the work packages you will find on the Research programme page.