Kiwa and Alliander open first Dutch hydrogen demo house
Knowledge centre shows concrete applications of hydrogen in the built environment
Kiwa and Alliander are opening the Hydrogen Experience Centre in Apeldoorn today: a demonstration and training location set up as a private home where professionals learn how to convert the natural gas supply in residential areas for hydrogen application. In the Hydrogen Experience Centre, Kiwa and Alliander demonstrate that hydrogen can be used excellently as a fuel in the built environment. At the same time, the centre is intended to train technicians and installers and familiarize them with the natural gas to hydrogen transition. This is necessary because the need for technicians who can work with hydrogen will increase rapidly in the near future.
The Hydrogen Experience Center in Apeldoorn is furnished as a residential home with a kitchen, a fuse box and a complete heating system. There are two central heating boilers: one that runs on hydrogen and one that runs on natural gas. The heating system in the house can be connected to a boiler of choice for demo or training purposes. The use of hydrogen in the built environment is put into practice in the demo house. It functions as a knowledge centre where the latest insights into the energy transition and hydrogen applications are shared. ‘The government has decided that by 2050 all houses in the Netherlands must be rid of natural gas’, says Daan Schut, Alliander's Chief Transition Officer. ‘We consider hydrogen as one of the options for replacing natural gas. With limited modifications, the existing natural gas network can be made suitable for distributing hydrogen into homes. Using the regular gas network for hydrogen is therefore a promising option for the future. The next step is to show what this looks like in practice. With this demo home, we enable home owners, suppliers and policymakers to experience this for themselves. For example, residents of the Berkeloord district in Lochem - which Alliander envisaged as a hydrogen pilot area - can check which adjustments are required for converting homes for hydrogen use. Many homes in the Berkeloord neighbourhood have a landmark status. Due to their construction, hydrogen is the best option to heat these houses sustainably.
In addition to being a demonstration location, the Hydrogen Experience Centre is primarily intended as a training location. Because most fitters and installers still have little experience with converting gas networks for the hydrogen use, Alliander and Kiwa have joined forces when it comes to training professionals. Kiwa is the number one trainer in the field of hydrogen in the energy transition in the Netherlands and Kiwa’s Apeldoorn location is equipped to work with hydrogen. Paul Hesselink, CEO of Kiwa: ‘The need for professionals who will put the energy transition into practice is growing rapidly. This demo house offers technicians the necessary training facilities to bring the Netherlands one step closer to achieving the climate goals. Kiwa has extensive in-house knowledge of all aspects of the hydrogen system: from production and transport to distribution and end use. We have many experts in the field of gas and materials and Kiwa is an authority in the field of natural gas and other gases, such as hydrogen.’
Promising energy source
Kiwa and Alliander are both convinced that hydrogen can be an energy transition driver. Like natural gas, hydrogen can be used for heat purposes and stored in large quantities to absorb seasonal fluctuations. It makes the electricity system more flexible, is a solution for heavy mobility and can serve as a raw material for industry. Only limited adjustments to procedures and measuring instruments are required for the safe management of the networks that transport hydrogen to end users.
CO₂ reduction Port of Amsterdam
The use of hydrogen contributes to CO₂ reduction. A recent study by Kiwa shows that connecting part of the industry in Port of Amsterdam to hydrogen can lead to an annual CO₂ reduction of 396,000 tons on average. That is almost as much CO₂ emissions a city like Wageningen produces each year. ‘If we produce hydrogen on a larger scale in the coming years, there will be economies of scale and use will become increasingly cheaper’, Paul Hesselink continues. ‘Moreover, hydrogen can play an important role in the storage of sustainably generated electricity. Temporary peaks of wind and solar energy can be stored cost-effectively in the form of hydrogen. Energy storage in the form of hydrogen is a thousand times cheaper than in the form of batteries. Technology is ready to use hydrogen as one of the solutions for the energy transition. It is now a question of training as many installers and technicians as possible and getting started with hydrogen applications. We are taking an important step towards this with our Hydrogen Experience Centre.’
Alliander is an energy network company. We maintain and renew the energy grid with our 7,000 professionals. In addition, we develop innovative solutions for complex issues in the field of the energy transition. In this way, we prepare the energy grid in a large part of the Netherlands for the future. We do this in common interest of keeping energy reliable, affordable and accessible for everyone. Network operator Liander, part of Alliander, has the statutory duty to manage and develop the gas and electricity network. The other companies within Alliander contribute to a future-proof energy grid with products and services. As an independent party, we provide customers and governments with insights that help them develop their energy supply. With our knowledge and expertise, we help the Netherlands to make the right choices in the energy transition.