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City distribution of hydrogen one step closer in Alkmaar

A broad partnership between different sectors makes it possible for lorries in North Holland to run on sustainable hydrogen generated by wind power in 2020. Thanks to DKTI subsidy, the DUWAAL project can open its first hydrogen station. DUWAAL focuses on an integrated chain to force a breakthrough regarding hydrogen technology as part of sustainable mobility. After years of research with renowned parties, the first concrete steps are now being taken to create a hydrogen station in Alkmaar.

Hydrogen used as fuel

The innovation lies in having the electrolysis take place in the wind turbine, so that hydrogen is produced immediately. This method offers new optimisations within the wind turbine and prevents a lot of electrical loss. The hydrogen turbine can therefore produce more and cheaper energy than a traditional wind turbine. The sustainably produced hydrogen is then used as a green transport fuel, so that CO2 as well as a lot of air pollution can be avoided. Research shows that using hydrogen generated by wind energy as fuel will become cheaper than fossil fuels within a reasonable period of time.

Thijs Pennink, director of Development Company Noord-Holland Noord, sees hydrogen as one of the most important pillars for achieving the region's energy objectives, 'Holland north of Amsterdam is ideally suited as a testing ground for hydrogen innovations. It has the necessary space and knowledge, and we also have an important track record in offshore. As a result, we have a strong gas infrastructure, such as the offshore gas pipelines that reach land at Den Helder. With the fossil fuel being phased out, hydrogen offers great new opportunities for the business community in the region.'

Alkmaar municipal executive councillor Elly Konijn-Vermaas responsible for Sustainable Mobility sees the realisation of the hydrogen station in Alkmaar as a very welcome way to achieve the planned air quality improvement. 'Alkmaar is committed to improving the city's air quality. The city centre of Alkmaar is already car-free. We are also trying to make the municipality's fleet of cars more and more sustainable. Many of the vehicles are already electric, and hydrogen is also an important energy source in that respect. Sustainability is an important pillar in the coalition agreement that the mayor and executive board are implementing. Businesses are also taking steps, such as the company RAVO that is developing a hydrogen-powered street sweeper and the company HYGRO that is developing the first hydrogen wind turbine in the IDEA incubator.'

Testing ground 'DUWAAL Alkmaar Boekelermeer'

Led by HYGRO, with support from Development Company Noord-Holland Noord (NHN) and New Energy Coalition, a consortium with GP Groot, RAVO, ECN part of TNO, Fleetcraft, Composite Analytica, and E-Trucks Europe BV has applied for the DTKI Transport subsidy (Demonstration scheme Climate Technologies and innovations in transport) in order to set up a testing ground as part of the DUWAAL demonstration project. The hydrogen generated by the wind turbine will soon be distributed to various petrol stations throughout North Holland. The purpose of this first testing ground is to realise the first hydrogen station, two hydrogen lorries and a hydrogen street sweeper. In addition, the testing ground is intended to further develop the technology and to set up experiments for new forms of mobility in order to increase the replication potential.

For example, the RAVO company will develop its familiar street sweeper into a hydrogen-powered version. RAVO expects a lot from this development considering the high demand for emission-free mobility in city centres and the possibilities that hydrogen offers for their products.

In addition, ECN part of TNO and Composit Analytica are aiding in the development of an integrated hydrogen storage, transport and distribution system. Together with HYGRO, they are developing a model with which the integrated hydrogen distribution and refuelling infrastructure can be optimised and which clearly shows the opportunities and limitations of cold compressed hydrogen. The expectation is that this research will help reduce the price of hydrogen at the pump in the future.

As a result of the project, the Fleetcraft company has founded a new company together with HYGRO. It is called MOBIHY. MOBIHY's goal is to organise the chain-wide supply and demand of hydrogen-electric transport equipment and does so by offering a full operational lease, including hydrogen. In addition, MOBIHY has brought together various waste collection companies to organise hydrogen-powered bin lorries. Two hydrogen lorries will be used as demonstration vehicles for this project.

The first hydrogen station in Alkmaar will be located at the NXT filling station at industrial park Boekelermeer, and the second will follow soon at the NXT filling station in Westzaan at industrial park Hoogtij in Zaanstad. GP Groot developed the NXT concept. Both hydrogen stations are set up according to the international guidelines, so that everyone can go there and are operated jointly by GP Groot and HYGRO. The filling station on the Boekelermeer in Alkmaar will be equipped with a 350-bar filling point for heavy transport and 700-bar filling point for cars. If everything goes according to plan, it will be possible to get hydrogen at the pump by mid-2020.

Enough sustainable hydrogen for 100 lorries

'At least 100 lorries can run on hydrogen generated by the turbine,' says Jan Willem Langeraar of HYGRO. 'We invite municipal services, transporters and private individuals to participate as users of the hydrogen station. Those interested in hydrogen applications for lorries can contact Jan Willem Gosseling from MOBIHY or Erik Metselaar from GP Groot. Private citizens can ask their Hyundai and/or Toyota dealer.'