King Willem-Alexander in Duisburg: NRW intensifies German-Dutch H2 cooperation
As part of a visit by Dutch King Willem-Alexander to North Rhine-Westphalia, government representatives signed two declarations of intent to intensify German-Dutch hydrogen cooperation. The focus of the cooperation is a cross-border hydrogen ecosystem.
Yesterday (14.11), King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visited the city of Duisburg. He was accompanied by Hans Vijlbrief, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate. The aim of his trip to the Ruhr region was to inspect German hydrogen projects and to discuss more intensive hydrogen cooperation between the two countries.
The Netherlands is regarded as a pioneer in the field of hydrogen. The focus of the visit therefore included the implementation of a cross-border transport and storage infrastructure, ensuring security of supply and intensifying the exchange of knowledge about H2. NRW Minister President Hendrik Wüst and Economics and Climate Protection Minister Mona Neubaur also took part in the visit program. Finally, two declarations of intent for a cross-border hydrogen ecosystem were signed by representatives of the two countries' Ministries of Economic Affairs and Climate Protection. The existing pipeline and port infrastructures, geological formations for hydrogen storage and the high demand for hydrogen from industry play an important role in this.
Expanding the hydrogen infrastructure together
The "Joint Declaration on further energy cooperation in the field of hydrogen infrastructure" is an expression of the intention of both countries to continue their efforts for a rapid and synchronized expansion of their national hydrogen infrastructure. With the creation of the German core network and the Dutch hydrogen transport infrastructure, potentially four cross-border interconnectors, so-called hydrogen interconnectors, will be realized and integrated into the European hydrogen network by 2032. Germany and the Netherlands are working on creating favorable framework conditions for private-sector hydrogen projects with a cross-border dimension.
The second joint declaration, the "Joint Declaration of Intent for the implementation of a joint tender within the framework of the H2Global instrument", includes a joint import of green hydrogen. Both countries plan to use the H2Global mechanism already in place in Germany. The mechanism supports companies in the production of green hydrogen abroad through a foundation. The aim is to secure the demand for hydrogen and support the international market ramp-up of green hydrogen. To this end, the Netherlands and Germany each want to invest €300 million in a joint global tender and ten-year purchase agreements for imports of green hydrogen from 2027 onwards.
King Willem-Alexander at the most important hydrogen points in NRW
On the morning of November 14, King Willem-Alexander and NRW Prime Minister Wüst visited the Marl Chemical Park together. The focus was on the import and transportation of hydrogen, its use in industry and the Rheticus project, in which an innovative pilot plant produces new chemicals using hydrogen and carbon dioxide, among other things.
In the afternoon, a visit to the Center for Fuel Cell Technology (ZBT) in Duisburg was on the agenda. The ZBT is a European leader in research into hydrogen technologies and works closely with its Dutch partner NedStack. In the test laboratory, they learned about the development of fuel cells and spoke with ZBT experts about test facilities for filling hydrogen tanks and hydrogen-powered cars, among other things. King Willem-Alexander and Prime Minister Wüst then drove to the Port of Duisburg in one of these cars.
One item on the agenda at the Port of Duisburg Duisport was a tour of the world's first hydrogen-powered barge, the MS Antonie. In order to realize Dutch hydrogen exports to North Rhine-Westphalia, the existing infrastructure must be expanded. By 2026, ten inland waterway vessels are to operate between Rotterdam, Duisburg and Cologne - with at least four hydrogen filling stations on the route.
King Willem-Alexander and Minister President Wüst took part in an event on the development of an inter-European hydrogen corridor at the Duisburg-Nord Landscape Park. Around 45 German and Dutch players from the hydrogen industry met there with the aim of significantly advancing the expansion. Afterwards, a matchmaking event for around one hundred small and medium-sized companies from both countries took place at the Landscape Park's power plant. The working visit concluded with a trade dinner attended by around 300 company representatives.