Gasunie and Netherlands ports exploring ‘hydrogen exchange’ proposal

Gasunie and the port authorities of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Groningen and North Sea Port are exploring the feasibility of setting up a hydrogen exchange – along the lines of existing electricity and gas exchanges – which they believe could ‘act as a catalyst for a market for climate-neutral hydrogen’.

In a statement posted on its website, the Port of Rotterdam Authority said the plan follows on from an exploratory study, A Hydrogen Exchange for the Climate, which was presented online to Eric Wiebes, the Netherlands Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, yesterday (30 September).

Gasunie and the four Dutch port authorities are now arranging for a more comprehensive ‘definition study’ to be carried out into the practical design of an exchange on which hydrogen can be traded freely.

The study, which will consider if the hydrogen exchange could be set up in stages and grow incrementally along with the formation of a market for climate-neutral hydrogen, will be headed by Bert den Ouden, former CEO of the Dutch Energy Exchange, and will run for a maximum of one year.

Ulco Vermeulen, member of the Executive Board of Gasunie, commented: ‘Every day, we work with partners on developing the Dutch hydrogen supply chain because we have confidence in the opportunities that hydrogen presents, both in terms of climate targets and our economy. Our gas trading site TTF now houses Europe’s largest virtual market for natural gas. A hydrogen exchange could have the same catalytic effect on the market forces driving hydrogen.’

Allard Castelein, CEO of Port of Rotterdam Authority, added: ‘It is important that we all pull together on this. Not only do we want to speed up the development of hydrogen in the Netherlands, we also want to make sure our country plays a pivotal role in the renewal of Northwestern Europe’s energy system.’

The partners in the new project believe that the Netherlands has a ‘unique starting position’ as a hub for hydrogen trading ‘due to its cost-efficient approach to sustainable energy, its location, which is perfect both for offshore wind and the landing of hydrogen imports, the role that Dutch industry plays in hydrogen, and the unique gas infrastructure that can be converted to transport hydrogen’.

Many studies have argued that hydrogen will play an increasingly important role in the decarbonisation of the shipping industry. Indeed, as’s sister publication Bunkerspot reported yesterday, the potential for hydrogen and ammonia in shipping was discussed at a recent select committee of US Senators, Department of Energy officials and commercial representatives.

Ian Taylor

Ian Taylor