Belgian first with green hydrogen boiler in workshop

With the help of an ambitious climate plan, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is aiming for climate neutrality by 2050. Hydrogen plays an important role in this transition. As such, the port aims to be a leader in the local and international hydrogen economy. In collaboration with Imtech, Remeha and Solencopower, a pilot project has been launched at one of the port's buildings with a boiler running entirely on green hydrogen to demonstrate the feasibility of this climate-neutral technology. It is the first time such a boiler has been used in Belgium for a workshop of this size.

Hydrogen boiler for workshop of 1430 m³ size

One of the workshops of the NOC (Nautical Operational Cluster) – the operational nerve centre of Port of Antwerp Bruges – will be heated via a hydrogen boiler running on 100% green hydrogen, making it climate-neutral. The use of this type of boiler for such a building is a first in Belgium. The Schildershal workshop ('Painters' Hall), is 1430 m³ in size and is used, among other things, for painting infrastructure such as components of locks. The project, conceived in late 2019, is a collaboration between Imtech, Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Tractebel (design team), Remeha (boiler manufacturer) and Solencopower (manufacturer).

100% green

The green hydrogen comes entirely from renewable energy: 70% from locally produced green energy from surplus solar panels and the remaining 30% from the grid through green power purchases. An electrolyser with an output of 30 kW uses this green power to split 134 litres of water per day into hydrogen (gas, which is stored in 8 bottles) that feeds the hydrogen boiler (with an output of 24 kW) to heat the Schildershal. In addition, 80% of the waste heat produced from the electrolyser will be recovered to provide additional heating for the workshop. The boiler consumes 10 kg of hydrogen during a harsh winter day, which is almost equivalent to two fully loaded hydrogen cars. The heating power is equal to the power required to heat 2 single-family homes.

Ambitious climate plan

Port of Antwerp-Bruges is aiming for climate neutrality by 2050 by means of an ambitious climate plan. Switching to green energy and raw materials for its own fleet and buildings is part of this. The goal is to reduce CO2 emissions resulting from building heating by 92% by 2030. The Schildershal project is part of this and serves as a pilot project for testing the feasibility and knowledge of the technology to replace existing heating equipment currently powered with fossil fuels, or where a heat pump is not always easy to integrate or can provide the complete solution.

Leading position in hydrogen economy

Hydrogen plays an important role in the transition to climate neutrality. As a world port, Port of Antwerp-Bruges aims to take a leading position in the local and international hydrogen economy by focusing on three pillars: local production and import, infrastructure for distribution, and consumption and transport to end users in the hinterland. This project, which has received a grant from the Horizon 2020 EU funding program for research and innovation, is part of PIONEERS, an initiative that implements greening projects in ports.

Dirk Smet, Managing Director Building Technics North, Imtech: "We are delighted to be involved in this innovative pilot project. It is evidence of our competencies as a partner for the implementation of the energy transition."

Rob Smeets, Chief Operations Officer at Port of Antwerp-Bruges: "Thanks to the passionate commitment of our team and in collaboration with our partners, we were able to develop this new application. Through innovative projects such as these, we are working with industry to build the port of the future and give the hydrogen economy a major boost."

Annick De Ridder, President of the Board of Directors of Port of Antwerp-Bruges: "Local production, alongside imports, plays an important role in the hydrogen economy. This first is a fine example of how, as a world port and as an economic engine of Belgium, we are using our pioneering role and, through innovation, daring to pioneer and collaborate, taking some major steps forward in the energy transition."

Yves Vanpoucke - Business Development Director BNL: "To meet the 2050 climate goals, Remeha believes in multiple paths to sustainability. Not one all-important indoor climate solution, but solutions that have an impact now and are prepared for a CO2-neutral future. We see hydrogen gas and green gas as alternatives to natural gas and storage of sustainably generated energy. As part of the BDR Thermea Group, we have the knowledge, technology and influence to accelerate the energy transition. This pilot hydrogen project in the Antwerp port area is a good example of that."

Hugo Vandenborre, Founder and CEO, Solenco Power: "Contributing to a first-of-its-kind project is in Solenco Power's DNA, as a pioneer and leader in green hydrogen. Solenco Power is in the scale-up phase, and such a realization in the domestic market is important. This pilot project demonstrates that green hydrogen is not only important for reducing CO2 emissions in the mobility market but also in stationary applications like this."


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