North Sea Port pipeline network matches supply and demand of hydrogen, CO2 and heat

Posted on 9 Jul 2021

North Sea Port pipeline network matches supply and demand of hydrogen, CO2 and heat

An extensive network of pipelines for the transport of hydrogen, CO2 and heat will be built in the Belgian part of North Sea Port. Companies that produce or store this in the port area will be able to supply it to nearby companies that need it for their production process.  

Carbon-free or green steel

It was Federal Minister of Energy Tinne Van der Straeten who gave the go-ahead for the development of this network of pipelines in the Flemish port area of North Sea Port at a recent press event. "In Belgium, there is a lot of heavy industry, which accounts for almost 30 percent of total CO2 emissions, and it is precisely this sector that is most suited to switching to hydrogen for the production of carbon-free or green steel, among other things. Green hydrogen plays a crucial role on the road to a carbon-neutral economy." 

Circular ecosystem

The example of carbon-free or green steel is not a coincidence. Steel producer ArcelorMittal in the Ghent seaport is a partner in the development of this pipeline project and has been working on the transition to green and circular carbon and to hydrogen for some time. The network of pipelines should connect companies in North Sea Port. Some companies in the Ghent seaport produce, import, transport or store hydrogen, CO2 and heat. Other companies need this for their production process. So industrial symbiosis in practice. "This way, we become the heart of a growth model in a circular ecosystem that is not only carbon neutral, but also waste neutral. An ecosystem that also connects and strengthens companies and sectors," says Manfred Van Vlierberghe, CEO of ArcelorMittal Gent.

Connections with the Netherlands and with Fluxys

But the plans for the network of pipelines extend beyond the Flemish territory of North Sea Port. In the Dutch part of the seaport, too, there will be a network that can be connected to the Flemish one.  Network operator Fluxys is also a partner in this project and will in turn connect the pipelines carrying CO2, heat and hydrogen to its national network. This will enable Fluxys to meet the demand for heat, hydrogen and CO2 from companies outside North Sea Port. "In doing so, we are going back to the market to build bridges between demand and production. This is how we are laying the foundations for transporting the molecules for a carbon-neutral future," concludes Pascal De Buck, CEO of Fluxys Belgium.


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