Participants include Air Liquide, Aramco, bp, Essent/ E.ON, ExxonMobil, Gasunie, GES, Hes international, Koole Terminals, Linde, OCI, RWE, Shell, Sasol, Uniper, Vopak, and VTTI.

They have commissioned Fluor to study possibilities for a large central cracking facility in the port area to convert imported ammonia back into hydrogen for the decarbonisation of industry and mobility.

The hydrogen can then be used in the port or transported onwards via pipelines to facilitate decarbonisation of other industrial clusters in North-West Europe. As a general rule, 1 million tonnes of green hydrogen can facilitate approximately 10 million tonnes of CO2-reductions.

Hydrogen and derivatives such as ammonia will play a key role in the energy transition to replace natural gas, as a raw material for industry and green chemistry, and to support sustainable transport. A large part of the hydrogen for North-West Europe will be imported, including in the form of ammonia, which is easier to ship than hydrogen.

Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam, said Europe will need large amounts of hydrogen to reach its climate objectives and a significant share of this can be imported via the Port of Rotterdam.

He said, “Ammonia is one of the most efficient ways to transport hydrogen and by establishing one central ammonia cracker, we can save time, space and resources to enable the imports.”

The pre-feasibility study will look into the technical, economical, environmental and safety requirements of a large cracking facility. First results of the study are expected early 2023.

The Netherlands continues to be active across hydrogen and ammonia development. During the climate summit in Egypt (COP27), Prime Minister Rutte signed a declaration of intent with the government of Oman on hydrogen co-operation, aiming to set up import and export facilities for green hydrogen.

In another move, it is working closely with Chile to create a hydrogen corridor generated from renewable energy in Chile, with a view to  distributing it throughout Europe via Dutch ports.

In order to deliver on the REPowerEU plan and capitalise on the role of Rotterdam as hydrogen hub, the Port has drafted a number of policy recommendations, such as developing a clear and stimulating regulatory framework at EU level to attract investors and ensure legal certainty for EU and non-EU economic operators, and implementing a ‘robust’ hydrogen certification scheme for hydrogen imports by the end of next year.