World Hydrogen Summit 2024_breakfast session

Rapidly Growing Hydrogen Ecosystem in Rotterdam Discussed During World Hydrogen Summit Breakfast Session

Ahead of the World Hydrogen Summit 2024 on Tuesday, May 14, InnovationQuarter, Rotterdam Partners, and the City of Rotterdam organized a breakfast session at Ahoy. The topic of discussion: the rapidly growing hydrogen ecosystem in the Rotterdam region and port area.

Loek Becker Hoff, Team Lead International Trade at InnovationQuarter, welcomed the international gathering. The first speaker, Claudia Stolk, Business Manager Energy & Offshore at Rotterdam Partners, briefly explained how Rotterdam Partners, along with InnovationQuarter, helps international companies and employees settle in the port city. “We try to make the landing as smooth as possible by connecting you with the regional ecosystem.”

World Hydrogen Summit 2024

Innovation and Collaboration Around Hydrogen Technology

Next, Mark Smith, Senior Business Developer Circular Energy at InnovationQuarter, spoke about how InnovationQuarter promotes innovation and collaboration around hydrogen technology in the port area. “It’s all about green energy,” he observed. The Netherlands has made significant progress in this area in recent years, with nearly half of all electricity being generated sustainably, largely thanks to large-scale solar and wind energy initiatives, both onshore and offshore. The Netherlands aims to generate 21 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, and 72 gigawatts by 2050.

Hydrogen plays a crucial role in the storage and transport of this energy. Hence, Shell is investing in a hydrogen plant on the Maasvlakte with a capacity of 200 megawatts, and the national government has initiated a pipeline to transport hydrogen to the Ruhr area in Germany. However, Mark clarified that InnovationQuarter’s focus is on smaller-scale projects, such as setting up hydrogen energy hubs that match local supply and demand, thus reducing transport costs. InnovationQuarter is also exploring a cooperative model where consumers are co-owners of the hydrogen production facility.

M4H: Innovation Campus Around Hydrogen

To get such projects off the ground, InnovationQuarter supports the formation of public-private consortia and partnerships and helps secure the necessary financing. Mark mentioned three initiatives he and his colleagues are currently involved in. The most advanced is the H2 Hub in Sliedrecht, where local industry, inland shipping, and heavy logistics consume green hydrogen. At Rotterdam The Hague Airport, the DutchH2 Aviation Hub is working on hydrogen applications for aviation.

M4H will be transformed into a new innovation campus with enormous potential in the coming years’

InnovationQuarter views hydrogen through the lens of the entire value chain. Besides importing, converting, storing, and distributing hydrogen via the Port of Rotterdam, this includes technologies and components for electrolysis and fuel cells. The innovations needed for this are being developed at the third initiative: M4H, a campus for innovative start-ups and scale-ups in the old Merwe-Vierhavens in the Rotterdam Makers District. Mark: “This area will be transformed into a new innovation campus with enormous potential in the coming years.”

Jouke Goslinga, Program Manager at the Port of Rotterdam Authority, delved deeper into the Rotterdam Makers District, which encompasses both M4H and innovation hotspot RDM. Innovation is not just a technical story, he emphasized. “Making real inventions and real innovations succeed is about more than just technology. It’s economic and, of course, social.” In the Rotterdam Makers District, the City of Rotterdam and the Port of Rotterdam Authority collaborate on a unique area concept that brings together living, working, and education, attracting innovative entrepreneurs and talent. “I think you need an area like this to really succeed.”

Rotterdam Makers District

Platform for Scaling Up Hydrogen Technology

“Our mission is to create a better world by scaling up sustainable technologies in the energy and maritime sectors,” began Iris Klingeman of Platform Zero in her presentation. The platform has a campus at M4H and focuses on the entire hydrogen value chain, just like InnovationQuarter. Iris highlighted the steps already taken, including shore power and CO2 capture on board ships, “but the ambitions are much greater.”

Platform Zero is working on the proof of concept for an end-to-end hydrogen value chain by bringing together various players in the port area. One example is the project to convert surpluses of locally generated sustainable energy into hydrogen or trade it locally. Battolyser Systems will have an electrolyzer with a capacity of one megawatt operational for this by early 2025.

Such projects help test technologies, but also map and develop the synergy between different innovations and the necessary infrastructure, creating an ecosystem of mutually reinforcing companies that also attract investors.

World’s Most Powerful Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Systems

The final speaker was Jan Bot, one of the founders of De scale-up bouwt waterstof- en brandstofcelsystemen voor mobiele toepassingen als vrachtwagens en schepen. ‘We maken momenteel de krachtigste brandstofsystemen ter wereld. Dat betekent dat we het meeste vermogen verpakken in de meest compacte voetafdruk.’ Een groot voordeel van waterstof ten opzichte van elektrisch aangedreven voertuigen is dat bijtanken slechts vijf minuten vraagt.

All the ingredients are present here in the Rotterdam region’

In collaboration with InnovationQuarter and various partner companies, developed a hydrogen-powered water taxi in 2022. For the STC training ship Ab Initio, the company designed the fuel and storage system. Currently, they are working on a mobile power generator for airplanes, and soon the first hydrogen trucks will hit the road. Jan: “We also see a big opportunity for these trucks here in the port area, where many containers need to be transported.”

Founders zepp

Since its founding in 2017, the company has grown independently. A week before the World Hydrogen Summit, received an investment of €3 million from the Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund en een investeerder uit het Rotterdamse ecosysteem. Als het gaat om waterstof, zo vatte Jan samen, ‘zijn alle ingrediënten aanwezig hier in de Rotterdamse regio.’

Rotterdam’s Hydrogen Economy Takes Shape

If the contributions of the speakers made one thing clear, it is that the hydrogen economy in the Rotterdam region is developing rapidly. The first steps towards a fully-fledged sector, where production, storage, and application each find their place, have been taken. However, there are still many interesting opportunities for startups, scale-ups, and larger companies. Both regional and international companies are warmly invited to join this groundbreaking initiative.


Join the Rotterdam Hydrogen Community

Do you want to be part of the rapidly growing Hydrogen Community in the Port of Rotterdam and establish yourself at M4H or RDM? Contact Sophie van Geest.

Sophie Geest ruit

Sophie van Geest

Accountmanager Foreign Investments