Rotterdam aims to reduce CO2 by over 9 million tonnes by 2030. Green hydrogen as an energy carrier for a circular economy has a prominent role in this ambition. Thus, the port of Rotterdam will become the centre for the production, distribution and use of hydrogen. This will make the port area the hydrogen hub of Europe.
To achieve its hydrogen ambitions, Rotterdam is investing in knowledge, technology and infrastructure. To name but a few: by 2025, four green hydrogen plants are to be built on the Maasvlakte: so-called electrolysers, which make hydrogen from electricity and water. Pipelines will transport the hydrogen from the electrolysers and import terminals to users in the port and hinterland of Rotterdam.
The power of innovation: that’s what we believe in in Rotterdam. The regional innovation cluster and manufacturing industry in the port can engage in the development of new hydrogen technologies. For example, the cleantech startup zepp.solutions launched the very first hydrogen-powered water taxi during World Port Days in September 2022. Jonas Brendelberger, co-founder of zepp.solutions, helped build the hydrogen water taxi for almost two years. ‘The advantages of this hydrogen application are many,’ he continues. ‘For starters, the hydrogen fuel cell system emits only water and no pollutants. In addition, you can refuel hydrogen, so you don’t lose time recharging a battery. Moreover, our system is compact and also quiet.’
Zepp.solutions builds hydrogen-based fuel cell systems for medium to heavy duty markets. ‘Apart from our office in Delft, we have a test facility at RDM Rotterdam,’ Jonas continued. ‘A great, innovative place for us!’ Besides on water, many hydrogen applications are also conceivable on land and in the air. Among other things, zepp.solutions is working with other parties on hydrogen trucks, a tractor that can move containers at a port terminal and a hydrogen excavator. Jonas himself is mainly concerned with hydrogen applications on water. ‘Such as the hydrogen water taxi, but also the Ab Initio, the hydrogen training ship of the Shipping Transport College.’ Zepp.solutions is also working on a hydrogen-powered aircraft, the first commercial flight is expected to take off from Rotterdam to London in 2028.
‘’There are lots of different applications that could benefit from our fuel cell systems,’ Jonas knows. ‘To be able to deliver the same performance emission-free in the future, as they do today based on diesel. This is only reinforced by a clear strategy from the port and Rotterdam’s ambition to become Europe’s hydrogen hub.’