July 18, 2024

Today, the Netherlands officially began constructing a 1,200km-long hydrogen pipeline — amid a continent-wide push to wean Europe off natural gas.

The first section of the pipeline will run from the Maasvlakte — a massive man-made extension of the Europoort in Rotterdam (Europe’s largest port) — some 30 kilometres inland to a gas refinery in Pernis, run by petrochemical giant Shell. This phase is scheduled to open in 2025 at a cost of €100mn. 

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by the country’s King Willem-Alexander, the minister for climate and energy policy, Rob Jetten, and Han Fennema, CEO of state-run energy company Gasunie.

“The start of the construction of the hydrogen network today is an important milestone,” said Jetten earlier today. “Hydrogen is ideally suited to making our industry more sustainable and offers economic opportunities for the Netherlands as an important link in Northwestern Europe. I am proud that we are the first country to start building a national network.” 

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From 2030, the wider 1,200km network will connect import terminals and hydrogen production facilities with major industrial clusters in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. A large chunk of the network will be made up of repurposed gas pipelines, many of which are set to become redundant as the country looks to reduce its reliance on the fossil fuel. The megaproject will cost about €1.5bn.