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World Hydrogen Summit • Rotterdam, 13 May, 2024



Belgian Hydrogen Council, NLHydrogen, and the German National Hydrogen Council Sign Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding to Advance the Hydrogen Economy in Europe


The Belgian Hydrogen Council (BHC), NLHydrogen (NLH), and the German National Hydrogen Council (Nationaler Wasserstoffrat, NWR) have officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on May 13, 2024, solidifying their commitment to joint initiatives aimed at advancing the hydrogen economy within the North-West region of Europe.

The MOU builds upon the longstanding history of cooperation and mutual support among Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. It seeks to establish a platform for collaboration among industry, government, universities, research institutes, and civil society to promote innovation and sustainability in the hydrogen sector.


Key objectives of the MOU include facilitating collaborative publications, promoting the widespread adoption of hydrogen technologies, and supporting the integration of hydrogen into the renewable energy landscape in alignment with European policies such as RED II/III (Renewable Energy Directive II/III).


The three parties believe that this collaboration will yield broad market benefits by promoting joint initiatives in market and technology development, as well as policy, the regulatory framework and stakeholder communication.


Jacqueline Vaessen, Acting Director of NLHydrogen, expressed enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating, "The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany are historically main users of hydrogen in Europe, and we are facing similar challenges in producing and utilizing clean hydrogen in different sectors. Joining forces with other associations to tackle these challenges benefits the development of hydrogen market in the three countries."


Seamless cross-border cooperation between Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany will be prioritized to maximize the impact of hydrogen initiatives on a regional scale.

Tom Hautekiet, Chairman of Belgian Hydrogen Council, stated “Import of green hydrogen from countries with enough wind, sun and space toward the European industry is an important stepping-stone to reach the European climate targets. Belgium and the Netherlands will be important hubs to transport hydrogen towards the German industry. This extends to harmonizing regulations and implementing shared infrastructure for import, offtake and throughput. By doing so, we can create a robust ecosystem and establish an import hub in North-West Europe. This collaborative effort will not only benefit our Belgian industry but also contribute to the prosperity of the entire region”.


The MOU outlines several key activities to be implemented within the framework of this cooperation, including information exchange, joint meetings and workshops, collaboration in events, and unified communication and promotion of outcomes.


"The Memorandum of Understanding marks a new milestone in our collective efforts towards a sustainable energy future. We will leverage our expertise and resources to drive meaningful progress in the adoption and integration of hydrogen technologies. This will unlock new opportunities, accelerate technological advancements, and pave the way for a hydrogen-powered Europe," added Katherina Reiche, Chairwoman of the German National Hydrogen Council.


The signing of this MOU marks a significant step forward in the collaborative efforts of the Belgian, Dutch and German industry, universities, research institutes, and civil society to drive innovation and foster the widespread adoption of hydrogen technologies in Europe. It also sends a strong signal to the respective governments and the new European Parliament that collaboration between neighboring Member States will be key to strengthening our hydrogen market for the future.

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SAVE THE DATE

Conference • 24 October 2024 • Brussels



Building the European Hydrogen Value Chain

with Belgium at its heart



At this conference, we will focus on the developments and critical aspects throughout the whole hydrogen value chain i.e. the status of the production projects in our region, the highlights regarding research & technology developments, the hydrogen backbone construction, the building of storage facilities at import terminals and the most interesting cases regarding end-use in industry and transport.


Results of Belgian players will be complemented with highlights from international frontrunners. Also this year we hope to welcome visitors from our neighbouring regions to exchange insights and develop new collaborations.


We are looking forward to meeting you there.


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BHC Conference : Joining forces on Hydrogen – Belgium, Benelux and its neighbours - 16 octobre 2023

The Belgian Hydrogen Council (BHC) held its first public conference in Brussels, organized by WaterstofNet and Cluster TWEED.


"With the BHC, launched in March 2023, WaterstofNet and Cluster TWEED joined forces between their regional clusters Waterstof Industrie Cluster and H2Hub Wallonia under the umbrella of the Belgian Hydrogen Council."


With around 400 registrations from companies, research institutions, governments, foreign embassies and journalists, the Dockx Dome Event hall was packed.


On the program for the day : opening speeches by regional Ministers Jo Brouns and Philippe Henry, 6 key note speeches by Tom Hautekiet (president of the BHC), Steven Libbrecht (CEO Hydrogen Council), Namibian ambassador Mekondjo Kaapanda-Girnus, CEO of CMB Alexander Saverys, professor at University de Liège Aurore Richel and Ruud Kempener who works at the cabinet of European Commissioner Kadri Simson. We had the honor of welcoming Federal Minister Tinne Van der Straeten to close our conference with an exiting speech.


The speeches were complemented by 4 dynamic panel discussions on Belgium as a large hydrogen offtake, a key technology supplier, a world leader on hydrogen R&D and as an important partner for regional, European and international collaboration.


The main message throughout the day : Realistic ambitions over euphoria !


The attendees were also introduced to a brand new BHC company directory brochure wherein we showcase our Belgian companies and expertise around the Belgian value chain.


Thanks to all speakers and participants to make this a successful first edition of the Belgian Hydrogen Council conference !

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Belgium : the European gateway for renewable hydrogen

© Promotional video from FOD Economy / Cabinet Van der Straeten

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Meet us at the European Hydrogen Week, 20-24 Nov 2023, Brussels, Booth L40




The Belgian Hydrogen Council will host a booth at the EU Hydrogen Week, which will take place from 20 to 24 November in the Expo conference center in Brussels. We look forward to welcoming you there! You can find us at Booth L40. Attendance to the exposition forum is free and registrations can be made through this link.



Furthermore, on Wednesday November 22th (morning) you are welcome at the roundtable on Hydrogen Technology collaborations between Belgian and South-African companies. This session will take place in Room 1125 of the Expo (9:30-13:00) and is organised in collaboration with the South African delegation to the EU H2 Week. A draft agenda has been attached. Should you be interested in this session, please reach out to davine.janssen@waterstofnet.eu directly.


We are looking forward to meeting you there !


The BHC-team

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Memorandum Belgian Hydrogen Council – Policy recommendations for the 2024-2029 legislature

In the beginning of 2023 regional cluster organizations WaterstofNet and Cluster Tweed joined forces on hydrogen by launching the Belgian Hydrogen Council (BHC). One of the goals of the BHC is to transcend the various political levels in our country by advising policymakers on the rollout of their regional and federal hydrogen strategies. In this light and given the upcoming elections in 2024, the BHC has now drafted a memorandum with six key policy recommendations for our future governments.


WaterstofNet and Tweed had both been coordinating their regional hydrogen clusters in Flanders and Wallonia respectively for several years when they launched the BHC in the beginning of this year. The goal of the Belgian Hydrogen Council is to take on important tasks such as the promotion of the Belgian hydrogen industry at home and abroad, as well as advise policymakers on the rollout of their regional and federal hydrogen strategies.

Five thematic working groups or 'Tasks' have been set up to reach these goals. Task 1, that works on policy and certification, has put a lot of effort during summer in writing this memorandum. The document is now finished and intends to define the six key actions on hydrogen our future governments should implement in the next legislature :


  1. Ensure sufficient and competitive funding/support for clean hydrogen
  2. Develop a fully-fledged open access hydrogen infrastructure
  3. Create a liquid market for clean hydrogen
  4. Unlock the hydrogen decarbonisation potential in the transport sector
  5. Stimulate hydrogen research & development
  6. Organise training, education and awareness on hydrogen


You can find our memorandum (pdf) as well as an executive summary (pdf). In the coming weeks and months, the BHC will set up meetings with political parties and administrations to discuss the document.

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BHC participation to the Belgian-Dutch Climate Technology Forum

On Wednesday 21st June 2023, the Belgian Hydrogen Council had the pleasure to participate to the first Belgian-Dutch Climate Technology Forum organized by the Dutch Embassy in Belgium and the Dutch Consulate General in Antwerp. This forum was a success and has gathered more than 400 people with approximately half Dutch and half Belgian.


For the BHC it was a great opportunity to present the Narrative on hydrogen in Belgium highlighting the Cooperation, Perspectives and Opportunities on hydrogen between Belgium and the Netherlands.


In more general terms it was an ideal opportunity for companies, centres of expertise and public sector representatives to exchange knowledge and gain new insights into green hydrogen, climate-neutral construction, forward-looking agriculture and smart, sustainable mobility.


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In more general terms it was an ideal opportunity for companies, centres of expertise and public sector representatives to exchange knowledge and gain new insights into green hydrogen, climate-neutral construction, forward-looking agriculture and smart, sustainable mobility.


Following the official opening, hosted by Liesje Schreinemacher, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, a varied programme was offering interesting discussion workshops for each sector focusing on different areas, one-to-one matchmaking interviews with Dutch players, and networking meetings between professionals from the ecosystem.


Indeed, several projects with strong Belgian-Dutch cooperation were presented to the Dutch royal couple. For example, VDL and Colruyt explained there the H2Haul project in which VDL produces hydrogen trucks for Colruyt.


During the first break-out session 'Powering the future with green hydrogen', Liesje Schreinemacher, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and the Federal Cabinet for Energy (An Stroobandt) explained Dutch and Belgian hydrogen policy.


Then Cedric Brüll and Adwin Martens explained how Belgian Hydrogen Council are helping to implement the federal and regional hydrogen strategy. They also gave insights into the expected global market and in which technology areas they see opportunities for cooperation.


Two more break-out sessions took place in the afternoon where Belgian Hydrogen Players were given a forum to showcase their technology and expertise :


'Manufacturing Industry for Hydrogen Production', in which Bosal, Agfa, TNO and John Cockerill set out their plans and where the opportunities lie for Belgian and Dutch industry.

'Manufacturing Industry for Applications of Hydrogen', in which VDL, Nedstack, ABC and Callens informed participants about their ambitions and promising technologies in hydrogen.

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Port of Antwerp Bruges elected as President of the board of the Belgian Hydrogen Council - 19.06.23

In March, WaterstofNet and Cluster TWEED launched the Belgian Hydrogen Council (BHC) to consolidate and strengthen Belgium’s position in Europe and on the global stage as a pioneering hub of excellence for clean hydrogen. The Council effectively seals a partnership and brings together the existing industrial hydrogen ecosystems in Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels that reflect the entire Belgian hydrogen sector.


Several thematic working groups or "Tasks" were established that form the beating heart of the Council. They focus on topics like policy, infrastructure, promotion, internationalisation and education. For every task, we already had two meetings in which we defined the main topics to work on the coming period and had the first in-depth discussions on the highest priority actions. In this newsletter, you can find updates on the activities of these from the past three months.

The board of the BHC is formed by eight companies, covering the hydrogen value chain. These companies were elected among all cluster members and will represent the Belgian Hydrogen Council for the coming two years: ENGIE (production), John Cockerill (technology), Fluxys (infrastructure), Port of Antwerp-Bruges (ports & import), ArcelorMittal (industry), INEOS (industry) Virya Energy (mobility) and Sirris (research).


In the first two board meetings, the role and functioning of the Board was finetuned. The board will strengthen the impact of the BHC by representing it in high-level dialogues with the policy makers at the different Belgian competence levels. It will support the communication on the BHC’s activities and the Belgian hydrogen industry in general on the (inter)national scene. The board will meet every month and will provide guidance to the tasks.

Finally, the board members elected Port of Antwerp-Bruges in the person of Tom Hautekiet as a president. We wish Tom good luck and look forward to working together!


Tom Hautekiet: “Elected by the Board of the Belgian Hydrogen Council, Port of Antwerp-Bruges will take up the role as president. Together with the companies involved in the Belgian Hydrogen Council, we can position Belgium even more as the hydrogen hub. A strong connection with the different hydrogen councils of the other countries will also be an important objective. I’m looking forward to working together in the coming years.”

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Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director of Clean Hydrogen Partnership, supports the launch of the Belgian Hydrogen Council

17 March 2023

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Press Release Belgian Hydrogen Council – Joining Belgian forces on clean hydrogen to excel in Europe and beyond


17 March 2023, Brussels – Regional cluster organizations WaterstofNet and Cluster Tweed today launched the Belgian Hydrogen Council (BHC) to consolidate and strengthen Belgium’s position in Europe and on the global stage as a pioneering hub of excellence for clean hydrogen. The eight CEOs who make up the Board of the Council met for the first time today in Brussels.


Rationale

WaterstofNet and Tweed have both been coordinating their regional hydrogen clusters in Flanders and Wallonia respectively for several years and are now jointly establishing a national hydrogen council that aims to transcend the various political levels in our country. The Belgian Hydrogen Council will take on important tasks such as the promotion of the Belgian hydrogen industry at home and abroad, as well as advise policymakers on the rollout of their regional and federal hydrogen strategies.


With Europe rapidly accelerating its ambitions and activities on hydrogen to meet its decarbonisation targets and to become independent of fossil fuels. Belgium has led a pioneering role in hydrogen technology development. This has been possible thanks to suppliers and the country’s ports as a unique geographic location for import and consumption of hydrogen, and governments aiming for hydrogen leadership in Europe. Creating a Belgian Hydrogen Council is crucial in consolidating and strengthening this leadership in hydrogen. As a matter of fact, the Belgian hydrogen industry has been calling for a long time for the creation of a national forum where companies are in the driving seat and tangible results are the main goal. With this Belgian Hydrogen Council, Belgium follows the example of other countries such as Germany and France.


National Council

The Belgian Hydrogen Council will take on some important tasks such as profiling and promoting the Belgian hydrogen industry at home and abroad, acting as a representative of the Belgian hydrogen ecosystem in national and international forums. The organization also aims at advising our various Belgian policymakers on the rollout of their regional and federal hydrogen strategies. The Council is neither a regional nor a federal initiative but it is a national council driven by the hydrogen industry. The industry is the Council's pilot with the support of the various governments. The four competent ministers have all expressed their support for this new initiative.


Tinne Van der Straeten, Federal Minister of Energy: “Our country's ambition is to become Europe's hydrogen hub. With renewable hydrogen, we are strengthening our energy independence and greening our industry. Our unique location, at an energy crossroads in the middle of several industrial clusters, makes us an ideal import and transit country for renewable hydrogen. In addition, our companies are pioneers in hydrogen technology and we have one of the most developed hydrogen networks in the world. The Belgian Hydrogen Council is strengthening cooperation at home to ensure Belgium as a leader in the energy transition.”


Philippe Henry, Walloon Minister of climate, Energy, Mobility and Infrastructure: “Wallonia is committed to encouraging and taking all opportunities to enable the emergence of a hydrogen industry on its territory in the short term. This energy vector is both a cornerstone of the decarbonisation of sectors that emit large amounts of CO2 and a major strategic and economic challenge. In this regard, I fully support the joint TWEED - WaterstofNet initiative aiming at constituting a new industrial player at the national level, which will transcend the specificities of each entity and with which the Walloon Government will actively collaborate.”


Jo Brouns, Flemish Minister of Work, Economy and Innovation: "Flanders wants to be a European leader in hydrogen and sustainable hydrogen technologies. We do this together with the industry and knowledge institutions, where we also work well together with WaterstofNet and the Waterstof Industrie Cluster. That is why I also support the initiative to join forces with other Belgian clusters. In this way we can strengthen collaborations, consult with our neighbouring countries and together weigh more on European policy. This cooperation is thus again an added value for Flanders."


Alain Maron, Brussels Minister of Climate transition, Environment and Energy: "Belgium has always been a country at the forefront of technology, and this expertise and our position are assets both nationally and internationally. I wish this new Council great success and hope that it will accelerate the decarbonization of industries in the different regions.”


Membership

The Belgian members of the Waterstof Industrie Cluster coordinated by WaterstofNet since 2015 and the members of the H2Hub Wallonia coordinated by Cluster Tweed since 2020 are automatically members of the Belgian Hydrogen Council (± 200 members). Thus, the Council effectively seals a partnership and brings together the existing industrial hydrogen ecosystems in Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels that reflect the entire Belgian hydrogen sector. It is these companies that will be the driving force of the Council.

Organisation of the Council

Five thematic working groups or "Tasks" are already being set up. These will become the beating heart of the Council. For example, Task 1 will focus on advising the various Belgian authorities on important hydrogen issues and will develop proposals on topics such as hydrogen certification. Task 2 will deal with the development of hydrogen infrastructure in Belgium. Task 3 (Promotion) and Task 4 (Internationalization) will work on raising the profile of our companies at home and abroad. Finally, Task 5 will focus on training and education around hydrogen. New working groups may be created according to the needs of our companies. The interested companies can become members of the different Tasks. Relevant sector federations like essenscia, Agoria and FEBEG are also invited to contribute to the Tasks.


Board of the Belgian Hydrogen Council

The Board of the Belgian Hydrogen Council is formed by eight companies, covering the hydrogen value chain. These companies were elected among all cluster members and will represent the Belgian Hydrogen Council for the coming two years: ENGIE (production), John Cockerill (technology), Fluxys (infrastructure), Port of Antwerp-Bruges (ports & import), ArcelorMittal (industry), INEOS (industry) Virya Energy (mobility) and Sirris (research).
These eight board members welcome the creation of the Council:


“The goal of the Belgian Hydrogen Council is to create a national industrial forum on hydrogen, supported by all governments, with two main objectives. The first objective is to facilitate a swift implementation of hydrogen in Belgium by solving regulatory/technical/economic barriers. The second objective is to develop a strong narrative on hydrogen with a view to turning Belgium into a major hydrogen import hub and to promote national hydrogen technology, so our country can export both hydrogen technology and knowledge worldwide. To reach those two objectives a close collaboration with comparable councils in neighbouring countries will be key.”


Program Office of the Belgian Hydrogen Council

WaterstofNet and Cluster Tweed together form the “program office” and take on the secretariat, organization and coordination of the Belgian Hydrogen Council.



The eight CEOs of the Board and the program office of the Council met for the first time today in Brussels: Adwin Martens, Stefan Van Laer, Isabel François, (WaterstofNet), Cedric Osterrieth (ENGIE), Raphaël Tilot (John Cockerill), Raphaël De Winter (Fluxys), Tom Hautekiet (Port of Antwerp-Bruges), Philippe Alboort (ArcelorMittal Belgium), Wouter Bleukx (INEOS), Stephan Windels (Virya Energy), Pieter Jan Jordaens (Sirris), Cédric Brüll and Valère Counet (Cluster Tweed).

Contact details Belgian Hydrogen Council