Perspectives

Every week, we submit three questions to representatives of organisations participating in the H-vision project, political representatives and representatives of other stakeholders in the field of blue hydrogen. They offer their perspectives on the future, on the energy transition and on hydrogen’s possibilities – and impossibilities. Informative and inspiring contributions!


Victor Van der Chijs

Chairman Deltalinqs and Rotterdam Port Promotion Council

1. As chairman of Deltalinqs, representing over 700 companies in the Rotterdam port and industrial area, how do you hope to fulfil this role in relation to the energy transition and the Dutch climate goals?

Transforming the Dutch industry to meet the climate targets is – I think – the biggest transition since the Industrial Revolution. The Rotterdam port and industrial complex, responsible for almost 90% of the total CO2 emissions in Rotterdam, has an important role to play in this transition. The discussion is not whether we are going to do it, but how we are going to do it. In order to achieve the change, everything must come together: cooperation between companies, support from our stakeholders, and also direction and support from the government. I see this as an important task for me. After all, as chairman of Deltalinqs, you are one of the most important representatives of the largest port in Europe. The companies are highly motivated. A lot of initiatives have already been started, but it is still unclear in a number of areas (e.g. in the construction of new energy infrastructure) what they can count on and what is expected of the companies. That is why the government should now quickly take control and map out the route with us: who does what, when, for how much and with whom. I am optimistic and hopeful that the energy transition in the largest port of Europe will succeed. The transition can, in addition to climate benefits, also bring us a lot of innovation and competitive advantage. As chairman, I like working hard to make this possible. If it was easy, I wouldn't have chosen it.

2. The stakes are high in the port of Rotterdam. What does it take to meet all the requirements?

The Rotterdam port and industrial complex is by far the largest industrial cluster in the Netherlands. Indeed, there is a lot at stake: almost 400.000 direct and indirect jobs and more than 6% of our GDP. Companies are often highly dependent on each other. In order to keep the port industrial complex future-proof and ultimately to make the Netherlands climate neutral, substantial investments are needed. The risks are corresponding. In a transition of this magnitude, in which new technologies will be used and where there are large interdependencies, a lot can go wrong. That is why cooperation is very important. Between companies, but of course also between public and private partners. We cannot do this without the government. Fortunately, this cooperation and support is there, but it needs to be stepped up further. We need to help each other to get this big operation done; we have to do it together. These are investments of great social importance; after all, this is about preserving our future prosperity. Finally, there are a number of other issues that need to be resolved. Think of the nitrogen impediment that is now complicating new investments and sustainability, the shortage of technically skilled personnel and the social transition that must be experienced. If we do not regulate this properly, the energy transition will slow down. In fact, it could become the showstopper.

3. Does the energy transition also offer opportunities for Rotterdam's industry, and what does it take to capitalize on those opportunities?

Absolutely. As I said, the impact of the energy transition is similar to the industrial revolution in the nineteenth century. As a result of the transition, but also due to further digitization, the labor market in the port and industrial area is changing. Jobs will disappear, existing jobs will change and new jobs and businesses will be created. This could create 10 to 15 thousand new jobs in the Rotterdam port area. This requires targeted support from the government, as well as regulations that make it possible for companies to make regional agreements with (vocational) educational institutions about the quality and quantity of education. After all, the companies know what skills their future employees should have. How good will it be if training institutes can tailor their education accordingly. Here too, public-private partnerships are essential. I am convinced that if we work well together, the port of Rotterdam can even strengthen its position. In the future, we can also earn a good living here, as long as we arrange the transition smartly and efficiently with each other. With the right investments, Rotterdam can become an important hydrogen hub in Europe.

Victor Van der Chijs

3. What is your advice to the new Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate? What should this Minister take first?

Abroad, the opportunities that hydrogen offers for the economy and society are better valued. Germany has set aside 9 billion euros and France 7 billion euros for hydrogen, and recently Germany presented 62 large hydrogen projects in which it will invest those billions. In addition, rules and state aid directives are applied flexibly in order to be able to produce hydrogen within their own national borders. The announced, relatively modest public investments in the Netherlands, and an unnecessarily strict national implementation of European rules, contrast sharply with this. It is becoming increasingly difficult for international companies to place their large electrolyzers (which produce hydrogen) in the Netherlands. The result is that the required investments in hydrogen do not end up in the Netherlands, nor the associated innovation ecosystems, activities and direct and indirect employment.

In the short term, it is therefore important to follow the example of Germany and France and to show companies that the Netherlands actually wants to be what it already is: the hydrogen hub of Europe. That means investing billions. Through the European state aid possibilities, but above all by investing in large-scale pilots, demonstration projects and the scaling up thereof. Ideally, the National Growth Fund will deliver an important contribution. Even when it comes to introducing European rules, we should not be left behind Germany and France.

Also, the open access hydrogen backbone and the international roll-out of this backbone must be realized in Northwest Europe. The pipeline bundle from Rotterdam to Chemelot and North Rhine-Westphalia is crucial in this respect. Without these interventions, no private party can justify investments in hydrogen production in the Netherlands and our dream electrolyzers will be built across the border.

I would therefore advise the new Minister to close the gap between ambitions and policy, in order to prevent private hydrogen investments from going abroad. If we do not intervene now, we will not be able to renew the Dutch economy and make it more sustainable and the Dutch climate target will then disappear behind the horizon.


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Alice Krekt
Deltalinqs - Program Director Climate Program

Why is the H-vision project so important for industry in the port of Rotterdam?

Our industry needs to significantly cut back its greenhouse gas emissions in the short term. H-vision’s hydrogen presents an excellent solution for the swift, large-scale reduction of carbon emissions. A push in the right direction for our joint climate goals.
Read more...

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Emilio Marin
BP - Managing Director BP Refinery Rotterdam

Isn’t green energy at odds with a fossil-based industry like refining?

Oh no, by no means. Over the past few years, our sector has shown its willingness to realise projects that help reduce consumption as well as cut back emissions. More than ever, our focus – in addition to safety – will lie on transforming our energy system in the interest of people and planet.  Read more...

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Bianca Boverhoff
H-vision - Projectleader Stakeholder Engagement

What is stakeholder engagement, and why is it so important?

Stakeholder engagement is a proactive approach based on sincere attention to the interests of all stakeholders, combined with transparency regarding one’s own interests. It leads to an early, proactive and constructive dialogue with the relevant parties involved.  Read more...

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Feikje Wittermans
Vopak - BD Manager New Energies

What’s your link to the H-vision
project?

The Infrastructure working group develops the pipelines required for connecting the various production units and users. I head this group, and we are currently working on three types of pipelines. We need pipelines to transport the residual refinery gas from the three   Read more...

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Coby van der Linde
Instutuut Clingendael - Director Energy Program

What’s your perspective on the future hydrogen economy?

The development of a hydrogen economy plays a crucial part on the achievement of the 2030 climate goals. This isn’t done overnight. We need to develop completely new value chains, and developing these new systems is a very costly affair  Read more...

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Henri Bontenbal
Lower House of Parliament - Christian Democrats (CDA)

Your idea for a national plan for twelve iconic provincial projects is part of the CDA election program?

In the past few years, the national government has strongly focused on rolling out renewable energy, resulting in more windmills, solar farms, biomass plants, etcetera  Read more...

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Olaf van der Gaag
NVDE - Director NVDE

There is discussion about both biomass co-firing and CO2 storage? Do you see similarities in those discussions?

I see plenty of parallels. I think many people underestimate how much it takes to reduce our CO2 emissions by even 1%. In my opinion  Read more...

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Afkenel Schipstra
Engie - Senior VP Business Development Hydrogen Netherlands

What does it take to shape the development towards a hydrogen economy?

The key to the development of a value chain for green hydrogen are customers who want to buy green hydrogen. In addition, there are 5 important conditions Read more ...

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Rene Peters
TNO - Business Director Gas Technology

TNO stood at the cradle of H-vision. How did the idea of H-vision come about?

H-vision originated from discussions within TNO and with a number of industrial players in Rotterdam and Deltalinqs about how the industry could decarbonize and significantly reduce CO2  Read more...

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Jilles van den Beukel
HCSS - Energy Specialist The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies

Are the Netherlands well positioned to maintain that strong position in the transition to hydrogen?

The Netherlands is advantaged, even better than many competitors. Rotterdam is well positioned with a good location in relation to the industrial centers of North West Europa where a large part  Read more...

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Laetitia Ouillet
eRisk Group - Senior associate - Chair of energy cooperation ‘de Windvogel’

What role does hydrogen play in making power adjustable?

I do not see a role to play in the next few years. We have a modern park of adjustable power and the climate agreement also does not nclude a limit on CO2 emissions  Read more...

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Thijs ten Brinck
wattisduurzaam - Watisduurzaam.nl

Why is that and why do you believe that we should bet on CCS after all? 

CO2 storage is often not wrongly described as ‘mopping with the tap open. CCS at a refinery, for example, does nothing about the (much larger) emissions of petrol cars and aircraft   Read more...

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Barthold Schroot
EBN - Energy Expert

What is the best option and what is needed to actually realize
this route?

So there is no 'best' option, and in any case we cannot ignore blue hydrogen. If we really want to, we can build a number of blue hydrogen plants in the Netherlands within a few years  Read more...

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Paulien Herder
TU Delft - Dean faculty of Applied Sciences and Chairman Taskforce Energy transition Economic Board Zuid-Holland

Why was the Hydrogen Proposition ‘Europe's Hydrogen Hub’ created and what are the main conclusions?

The Netherlands has a dream starting position for an important role in the global hydrogen economy. Hydrogen is a crucial piece of the puzzle on the road to a climate-neutral world, and... Lees meer...

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Harro van der Ree
ExxonMobil - EMEA CO2 reduction strategy executive

Which moment in the near future will prove particularly important, and why?

The elections. They could once again bring sweeping changes to the Dutch political landscape, making parties more hesitant to invest. The Government Strategy on Hydrogen recently published by the Cabinet confirms the role H-vision  Read more...

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Michèlle Prins
Natuur&Milieu - Program Leader Sustainable Energy

What do you think of the contact with the industry, and how do you expect to cooperate with the industry in the future?

My contacts with industry vary. During the negotiations for the Climate Agreement at the industry table, I had intensive contact with a part of the industry  Read more...

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Corné Boot
bp Nederland - Head of Government Affairs BP Netherlands and member of the H-vision Workgroup Communication & Stakeholder Engagement

What is your
advice to a new
government?

If the government really wants the industry to achieve the current or increased CO2 reduction task by 2030, they need to clarify a number  Read more...

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Rob Kreiter
TKI - Director Energy & Industry

Compared to European industry, is the Dutch industry on course to take accelerated steps in energy transition? 

A comparison within Europe is not really possible, because our neighbors have a different mix of energy supply and type of energy users. In the Netherlands Read more ...

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Noé van Hulst
Gasunie - Chair IPHE, International Hydrogen Advisor - Hydrogen Advisor at International Energy Agency (IEA)

What can we learn from other hydrogen
countries?

Let us not shy away from big flagship projects. Bold hydrogen and CCUS projects are underway in Japan, Australia and Norway. This captures the imagination and attracts Read more ...

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Mathijs Groenewegen
bp Nederland - Business Development Engineer BP Netherlands

As a promising engineer, why did you choose
a job at BP?

The main reason I chose this job is the company culture and the people who work there. There is often the perception about multinationals that they are slow, hierarchical organizations  Read more...

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Remko de Boer
Studio Energie - Researcher, publicist and creator of podcast ‘Studio Energie’

What do you notice in Dutch
energy policy?

This policy is strongly influenced by developments which are not very helpful to say the least. We increase our goals, but at the same time we do not seem willing to  Read more...

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Elvie Kromwijk
Deltalinqs - Project leader Circular

How do you stay
motivated?

With trial and error. During my studies we looked at major ecological themes such as energy, water, food and biodiversity. It did not always make me happy to learn a lot about  Read more...

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Bart Groothuis
VVD - Member of the European Parliament (VVD)

With your view from Europe, what should the Dutch politicians do to realize the Dutch hydrogen ambition​​​​?

Show eagerness, guts and old-fashioned Dutch entrepreneurship. The difference with how we did this in the past is that the state now has to play an inescapably large role  Read more...

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Victor van der Chijs
Deltalinqs en RPPC - Chairman Deltalinqs and Rotterdam Port Promotion Council

The stakes are high in the port of Rotterdam. What does it take to meet all the requirements?

The Rotterdam port and industrial complex is by far the largest industrial cluster in the Netherlands. Indeed, there is a lot at stake: almost 400.000 direct and indirect jobs Lees meer.