A New Energy Era: Ingrid Post Unveils Hydrogen Plans for the North Sea Canal Area

Meet Ingrid Post, the driving force behind the NSCA Project Office as the Energy Transition Program Director. The NSCA Project Office plays a crucial role in our journey towards establishing a hydrogen import hub, proving indispensable for its collaborative efforts, strategic navigation among diverse stakeholder interests, and unwavering commitment to environmental objectives. Dive into our insightful conversation with Ingrid Post below, where we explore the intricacies of energy transition through an email interview, offering unique perspectives and expert insights.

  1. What role do you envision the North Sea Canal Area playing in the advancement of the hydrogen economy, and how does NZKG plan to facilitate this transition?

“The North Sea Canal Area (NSCA) has an excellent position to create a hydrogen economy. NSCA acts as an essential hydrogen hub for the import, storage, usage, transit, and export of sustainable hydrogen. Amsterdam, as the fourth-largest port in Europe, is shifting its focus from currently using fossil fuels to green hydrogen and synthetic paraffin for aviation and shipping. The industry in the NSCA is shifting from using current fossil fuels towards electricity and hydrogen. The strategic location of the North Sea Canal area makes the region crucial in the hydrogen transition for North-Holland and North-West Europe. The region is developing hydrogen-based value chains, including import, production, storage, distribution, usage (for industries such as steel), and export of hydrogen and hydrogen-derived fuels such as synthetic kerosene for the international aviation hub at Schiphol and the rest of Europe. Therefore, the North Sea Canal Area can be a kickstarter of the hydrogen economy. There are already a lot of small and large-scale hydrogen initiatives coming up. NSCA is stimulating and facilitating these initiatives, bringing stakeholders together and creating with all the relevant partners the necessary conditions like infrastructure, laws and regulations, licenses, financing, and communications.”

  1. Can you share insights on how collaboration between different stakeholders in the NZKG area is accelerating hydrogen projects?

“In the NSCA area, we work together with all parties who play and can play a role in the development of the hydrogen economy: Government (national, regional, and local), Grid Operators (electricity, hydrogen/gas), Private parties (producers (electrolysers), industry, transporters), Environmental Agencies, etc. We developed a long-term strategy on the energy transition and the development of the hydrogen economy in the NSCA as joint stakeholders. All projects in the area are part of the value chain to develop the hydrogen economy in the area. We combined all the projects into an overall action program on the Hydrogen Hub. Furthermore, we jointly discuss the progress and constraints of the projects in the Hydrogen acceleration table. We jointly work on the realization of the hydrogen hub Noord-Holland.”

  1. The Hydrogen Hub Noord-Holland was awarded the status of European Hydrogen Valley of the year. What do you reckon were the critical factors leading to this award?

“This region has a unique proposition. The region has a lot of wind offshore in the North Sea, a strong industrial cluster in the North Sea Canal Area, high-quality energy ports around Amsterdam and Den Helder, and the international aviation hub at Schiphol. This makes Noord-Holland well-equipped to develop a hydrogen economy. The region is developing hydrogen-based value chains, including import, production, storage, distribution, usage, and export of hydrogen and hydrogen-derived fuels such as synthetic kerosene to the rest of Europe. All the elements of the ecosystem are present in the NSCA/North Holland, from potential large-scale users, production, transportation, knowledge, and innovation, etc. There are already a lot of small and large-scale initiatives at several technology readiness levels (TRL). The TRL is high compared to other regions. There is a lot of potential for scaling up the existing initiatives.”

  1. What are the main challenges NZKG faces in integrating hydrogen infrastructure, and how are you addressing these challenges?

“In the NSCA, there is already a lot of existing fossil fuel infrastructure. Existing natural gas infrastructure and oil/petrol/diesel terminals can be transformed into hydrogen infrastructure/terminals. Although we can use quite a lot of the existing infrastructure, there are new planning procedures necessary; safety and security regulations have to be developed, and licenses have to be issued. Together with responsible public and private parties, we try to address and tackle the challenges in hydrogen infrastructure at an early stage. Therefore, we think it is possible to realize high and low-pressure hydrogen infrastructure by 2026/2027.”

  1. Could you detail a specific project NZKG is working on that exemplifies your commitment to fostering the hydrogen economy in the North Sea Canal area?

“At the moment, we are working with several partners on innovative demonstration projects which create and strengthen several value chains, for example, (large scale) production, LH2-imports, several conversion and storage options (LOHC, Solid H2 carriers, LH2), and innovative use cases in the maritime sector (NABH4 and LH2 bunkering + cargo vessel), additional power supply data centers, mobility systems (road-based), and gensets. The projects are very important in strengthening the hydrogen economy in the NSCA and the Hydrogen Hub North Holland.”