Third Hydrogen Cross Border Conference in Emmen – From loose puzzle pieces to integrated hydrogen chain
Closer cooperation at different levels is needed to accelerate the application of hydrogen in the German-Dutch border region. That was the main message of the third ‘Hydrogen Cross Border Conference’ (HCBC 2023) held in Emmen last Wednesday. More than 200 participants from industry, knowledge institutes and governments from the border region gathered to share their experiences on all facets of the hydrogen chain.
“If we want to grow from separate developments to total solutions, the separate components of the hydrogen chain must come together,” notes Emmen municipality councillor Guido Rink. “From production and transport of hydrogen to storage and use – everything has to fit together.” Relationships between the actors involved are crucial here. That is why it is very important that we are in dialogue with each other and that we do not wait for changes but cause them ourselves.”
Cooperation between German states and Dutch provinces can provide the right framework conditions, said Dr Magnus Buhlert, Director in Lower Saxony’s Ministry of Environment, Energy, Climate Protection. “These framework conditions help companies, research institutes and scientists to get something done in the hydrogen chain. Together with the northern provinces in the Netherlands, we are committed to removing obstacles in European laws and regulations.”
Developing a hydrogen economy is not just about technology, noted Drenthe province’s deputy Tjisse Stelpstra. “We are looking at where we can provide financial support, how we can bring people, organisations and knowledge together, how we can support training and make licensing unambiguous. Communication is also important, because new technology ultimately has to be embraced by users.”
Opportunities for green hydrogen
According to Jorgo Chatzimarkakis of Hydrogen Europe, green hydrogen is also seen at European level as the key success factor in shaping the energy transition. The European Union wants to sharply increase the use of hydrogen. Although the production of green hydrogen is increasing, in the longer term imports will also be needed to meet rising demand. Storage and transport of hydrogen are therefore crucial. This was also the final conclusion of the German-Dutch project HY3 presented by Rene Peters (TNO) and Michael Bakman (DENA).
The right framework conditions of great importance
Several companies in Germany and the Netherlands are working on clean hydrogen innovations. Cross-border cooperation accelerates that development, thinks FME’s Leo van der Burg. “German and Dutch companies are well positioned. But pioneers are not always rewarded and an innovative lead does not always mean that success is guaranteed because the framework conditions are not yet right.”
Subsidy as driver for innovation
To mitigate these risks to some extent and make it easier for small and medium-sized companies to innovate, Nikolaus Jansen of the Lower Saxony Regional Development Agency recommends the use of grants. For example, the Interreg Germany-Netherlands funding framework offers several priorities suitable to support developments in the hydrogen value chain.
About HCBC 2023
The Hydrogen Cross Border Conference is an annual conference on developments in the hydrogen economy on both sides of the German-Dutch border. HCBC 2023 was organised by the H2-Ostfrieland initiative, the H2 region Emsland, Mariko GmbH, FME, OLEC and New Energy Coalition, among others. Funding came from the organising parties and from Land Niedersachsen, H2-Ostfriesland initiative, Province of Drenthe and Municipality of Emmen. After the two previous editions in Germany (2021: 700 participants online, 2022: 200 participants), this was the first HCBC to take place in the Netherlands.