What it's about:
Dutch paints and chemicals maker Akzo Nobel and gas network operator Gasunie plan to build Europe's largest green hydrogen production plant in a bid to cut emissions, Reuters reports.
Under pressure to meet strict carbon dioxide (CO2) emission goals, industrial companies and utilities hope to use excess wind and solar power to create hydrogen, which can then be stored for reconversion into power or for direct industrial use.
The facility, to be built in the northern part of the Netherlands, would use a 20 megawatt water electrolysis unit to convert sustainable electricity into hydrogen. That would mark an important step in scaling up the technology, seen as crucial for reducing CO2 emissions, the companies said.
The planned installation would produce around 3,000 tonnes of green hydrogen each year, which can either be used by Akzo's specialty chemicals division or sold to third parties, such as public transport companies using hydrogen buses.
Why it's noteworthy:
Akzo Nobel is one of the most energy-intensive companies in Europe. It says it currently uses renewable sources for 40 percent of its total energy need and aims to be CO2-neutral by 2050.
By 2050, hydrogen could power 400 million cars, 15-20 million trucks, around 5 million buses, a quarter of passenger ships and a fifth of non-electrified train tracks, as well as some airplanes and freight ships.
Some countries have set targets for hydrogen use, such as China, which aims to have 1 million hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2030. Britain has a 23 million pound ($30 million) fund to accelerate take-up of hydrogen vehicles.
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