Belgium aiming to be green hydrogen gateway for Europe

Belgium has launched a call for proposals to prepare its ports to import massive amounts of green hydrogen as part of its efforts to become a ‘hydrogen gateway’, Belgian Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten announced.

The call for projects will be launched in October, with a budget of €10 million, Belgian media outlet L’Echo reported.

The main focus is the port of Antwerp-Bruges, which the government wants to become the gateway for green hydrogen in Europe.

Because of its location, the port is already one of Europe’s major energy hubs, transporting 10% of the EU’s gas and connected to the North Sea’s offshore wind farms.

To reduce the EU’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels, the EU has set an aspirational target of producing 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen domestically and importing the same amount by 2030.

To contribute to this target, Belgium adopted its National Hydrogen Strategy in 2021, which aims to “position Belgium as an import and transit hub for green hydrogen in Europe” and make it “a leader in hydrogen technologies”.

In October last year, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo also insisted on Belgium’s ability to become “the gateway for hydrogen in Europe”.

Belgium has already started looking for international partners and recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chile to import green hydrogen from there. The two countries have agreed to set up a corridor for Chilean green hydrogen and its derivatives to be shipped to Belgian ports.

A large proportion of this green hydrogen is expected to be destined for its Antwerp refinery, which will require large quantities to be imported into Belgium, L’Echo added.