Belgian consortium Hyoffwind has signed an agreement with John Cockerill and BESIX to design and build a green hydrogen production unit in Zeebrugge. This agreement represents a new milestone for Hyoffwind, which is playing a key pioneering role in line with the Flemish, Belgian and European hydrogen strategy.
Collaboration between partners across the entire energy chain
The Hyoffwind project is being developed by a consortium active across the entire energy value chain. The consortium, consisting of Virya Energy (generation and sale of renewable energy) and Fluxys (transmission of green molecules), aims to develop a power-to-gas facility that can convert renewable electricity into green hydrogen.
Green hydrogen is a crucial building block for a renewable energy economy, as it can be used as a raw material for industrial processes and for a variety of mobility applications. Hyoffwind will also contribute to the flexibility and balance of the energy system by providing an effective solution for the increased variability created as a result of renewable electricity production.
Fluxys and Virya Energy joined forces in 2018 to bolster the sustainability of the energy landscape in Belgium and Europe. The first phase of the planned project will consist of a facility that can convert 25 MW of electricity into green hydrogen, but the partners aim to scale this up to 100 MW in the second phase.
Following the outcome of the feasibility study, carried out with the support of the Federal Energy Transition Fund, a tender process was started involving multiple parties. In selecting John Cockerill and BESIX as technology partners and as partners for the design and the construction of the facility, the consortium has taken the next major step. The permit application process was begun in late 2021 and the consortium expects to receive a permit by mid-2022. The final investment decision, which is also subject to the granting of subsidies by the Flemish government under the recovery plan, will be made in the course of 2022.
Flemish Minister for Economy and Innovation Hilde Crevits has been supporting the project since 2020 because it dovetails perfectly with the Flemish hydrogen strategy. In fact, in 2020 the Flemish government awarded €8 million in strategic ecological aid to Hyoffwind. In addition, Minister Crevits will provide another €23 million under the Flemish recovery plan via the European call for IPCEIs, whose first series of projects must now be approved by the European Commission.
Flemish Minister for Economy and Innovation Hilde Crevits: “Hyoffwind is one of the projects that Flanders has submitted in connection with the European call for hydrogen IPCEIs. We aim to become a frontrunner in sustainable hydrogen. In other words, it is positive that the consortium has taken the next steps towards the first green hydrogen production unit in the port of Zeebrugge. Not only will it produce sustainable hydrogen, but it will also enable companies to acquire knowledge of and expertise in this sustainable technology, knowledge that we can then export to other countries. We are delighted to support this pioneering project with the Flemish government.”
Towards a hydrogen economy in Belgium and Europe
This pioneering project, combined with the development of hydrogen infrastructure, will make a major contribution to the Flemish, Belgian and European hydrogen strategy by taking a first step towards the development of Flanders and Belgium as a European green hydrogen hub.
Paul Tummers, CEO of Virya Energy: “With Hyoffwind, we are entering the next stage in the transition towards more fit for purpose green energy sources by enabling the start of a green hydrogen supply chain. The availability of clean hydrogen is set to further decarbonize industries such as transport and logistics. By partnering with John Cockerill and BESIX, we have the complete know-how and experience to become one of the first important building blocks supporting the European hydrogen strategy. At Virya Energy, we see the development of green hydrogen as crucial element towards an end-to-end green energy service offering.”
Pascal De Buck, CEO of Fluxys: “As an infrastructure company, we are shaping the future energy system by making our transmission system accommodate among others green hydrogen, a carbon-neutral energy carrier. We want to be an active actor of the energy transition in Belgium, with a view to making our country an import and transit hub in a European wide hydrogen backbone. Together with our partners, we are convinced the Hyoffwind project can bring a significant contribution in that respect, as it has the potential to help kickstart a hydrogen economy in our country.”
Jean-Luc Maurange, CEO of John Cockerill: “With our partner BESIX, we are honoured to have been selected by Virya Energy and Fluxys for this landmark pioneer green hydrogen project. As the world-leading designer and manufacturer of high-capacity alkaline electrolysers, John Cockerill is fully committed towards the energy transition. With our rapidly growing team of hydrogen experts based in Belgium and France, we strive to constantly develop innovative technological solutions. This project really answers the needs of our times. It is a significant step forward in the fight against climate change.”
Pierre Sironval, Deputy CEO of BESIX Group: “Hyoffwind is a leading green hydrogen project in Europe, to which BESIX brings both the electromechanical expertise of its subsidiary BESIX Environment for the design, execution and commissioning of the plant, and our capabilities in the construction of complex industrial projects. As the collaboration between our teams over the last few months has shown, BESIX's multidisciplinary expertise is extensively involved in creating, together with John Cockerill and Hyoffwind, the solutions that will make this project a success and an example for the decarbonization of our economies.”
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Hyoffwind is a project to build and operate an industrial-scale 25 MW green hydrogen production facility in Zeebrugge. The partnership between Fluxys and Virya Energy dates back to the feasibility study launched in 2018. The green hydrogen facility will enable the further decarbonisation of various applications by providing clean fuel, sustainable feedstock for industry and an energy storage solution produced via renewable energy sources. The facility, which can be scaled up to 100 MW at a later stage, could become a key component in a rapidly emerging hydrogen production and distribution grid supporting both the Belgian and European hydrogen strategies.
About Virya Energy
Virya Energy is active in the development, financing, construction and operation of renewable energy sources. Established in late 2019 by Colruyt Group and its majority shareholder Korys, Virya Energy today holds 100% stakes in Parkwind, Eurowatt, Eoly Energy and Sanchore. Virya Energy is set to further develop renewable energy generation capacities and deliver services across the full value chain of sustainable energy solutions, including storage. Based in Belgium, Virya Energy and its subsidiaries own and operate over 1 GW of green energy generation capacity globally and are active in numerous green hydrogen initiatives.
Headquartered in Belgium, Fluxys is a fully independent energy infrastructure group with 1,300 employees active in gas transmission and storage, as well as liquefied natural gas terminalling. Via its associates around the world, Fluxys operates 12,000 kilometres of pipeline and liquefied natural gas terminals with an annual total regasification capacity of 29 billion cubic metres. Fluxys’ subsidiaries including Euronext-listed Fluxys Belgium, owner and operator of the gas transmission and storage infrastructure and liquefied natural gas terminalling facilities in Belgium.
As a purpose-led company, Fluxys together with its stakeholders contributes to a better society by shaping a bright energy future. Building on the unique assets of its infrastructure and its commercial and technical expertise, Fluxys is committed to transporting hydrogen, biomethane and any other carbon-neutral energy carrier as well as CO2, accommodating the capture, use and storage of the latter.
About John Cockerill
John Cockerill is a global player in the energy transition. Leveraging more than 200 years' experience in energy and industry, John Cockerill develops innovative technological solutions that contribute to the decarbonisation of human activities, whether developing new electricity generation capacity from renewable energies, storing green electricity or optimising the energy efficiency of existing power plants and industrial equipment. The group adapts its technologies and expertise – heat recovery boilers for combined-cycle gas and steam power plants, green hydrogen production, storage and distribution units, receivers for concentrated solar thermal power plants, integrated green electricity production, storage and management units, industrial boilers, maintenance of wind turbines and hydroelectric installations, nuclear valves, and industrial process automation – to the specific needs of its energy and industrial customers. In so doing, John Cockerill is making a technological contribution to the fight against climate change.
Brussels-based BESIX (founded in 1909) is a leading Belgian group active in 25 countries and on five continents in construction, real estate development and concessions. Its many iconic projects include Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in Dubai. Thanks to its engineering department, BESIX can carry out complex and unique projects, particularly in terms of their technical and environmental aspects.
Group subsidiary BESIX Environment specialises in electromechanics and the design, engineering, execution, operation and maintenance of state-of-the-art environmental facilities, including water treatment and recycling, waste processing and sustainable energy.