Working together on hydrogen in agribusiness

The ‘H2 in Agri Deal’ was signed on 15 July 2021. With this, Development Agency Noord-Holland Noord (NHN), New Energy Coalition (NEC) and Greenport Noord-Holland Noord (GPNHN) want to further expand their collaboration. In order to shape the energy transition within the NHN region in this way, and to position Noord-Holland Noord in particular as a test bed for hydrogen chains in agribusiness.

The collective wants to focus on the development of pilots and practical applications of hydrogen in agribusiness in Noord-Holland Noord. So that knowledge about the application possibilities is increased and the basis is laid for a hydrogen chain.

Regional Deal Maritime Cluster Kop van Noord-Holland

The regional deal focuses on realizing a hydrogen economy in the Kop van Noord-Holland. Agribusiness has come into the picture as a sector where there are opportunities for both the generation of hydrogen and its application. For example, it can replace diesel in tractors and heavy transport, take over the role of natural gas and remove bottlenecks in the electricity network.

In addition, in the event of overproduction of solar and wind energy, this energy can be used to produce hydrogen, to enable temporary storage of energy. In this way, peaks and troughs in the generation and consumption of energy are better absorbed. NHN, NEC and GPNHN want to work together to make these opportunities concrete for entrepreneurs.

Application of hydrogen requires new answers

Entrepreneurs now see hydrogen as an interesting alternative, but they are looking for certainty, knowledge and experience before they want to get involved. There is currently no infrastructure for supplying hydrogen, there is virtually no practical knowledge in agribusiness and the range of machines that can run on hydrogen is still limited. NHN, NEC and GPNHN want to accelerate the introduction of hydrogen in agriculture by organizing and conducting practical research and pilots, in which practical experience and knowledge are gained. They look for valuable partners based on their own expertise and networks.

First project: Hydrogen mill (Hygro) and hydrogen tractor (EOX)

An example project that the consortium is currently working on is the realization of a pilot from hydrogen production to use in tractors on land. This is done by means of Hygro’s hydrogen mill (at the TNO test site in Wieringermeer) generates the hydrogen locally. This hydrogen is sold via Avia-Marees and used in H2Trac’s EOX tractor. Contractor Sturm-Jacobs and agricultural research center Vertify are in the picture to test the application of the tractor in practice.

Noord-Holland Noord as a test bed for H2 in Agri

After the pilot project has started, ONHN, NEC and GPNHN want to continue. Jeroen Noot, program manager Greenport NHN: “The agribusiness in Noord-Holland Noord is incredibly innovative, and a leading position in the application of hydrogen fits in perfectly with this. We are already seeing many entrepreneurs eager to get started with hydrogen. An integrated approach is necessary, however: the infrastructure and regulations must be in order, entrepreneurs must have knowledge and experience and certainty about the reliability of the machines and delivery. It is also important that personnel are available to maintain the new machines and infrastructure. With the collaboration with NHN and NEC we can organize this. We are combining the necessary knowledge and networks to jointly establish the region as a testbed for hydrogen applications in agribusiness, and to accelerate the energy transition within this sector.”