11 mei 2023

Construction of hydrogen pipeline network started in Hoogeveen

Yesterday, HEAVENN partner Gemeente Hoogeveen (Municipality of Hoogeveen) started the construction of a pipeline network for hydrogen. This system should soon supply heating to newly built homes in Nijstad-Oost. Existing homes in Erflanden can also be connected to the system. It is a special milestone after a period of planning and consultation.

Intensive cooperation with residents and various partners

Alderman Jeroen Westendorp spoke about the years of preparation leading up to this moment: ‘We have been working on these plans since 2018, together with 22 partners and made possible by subsidies from the Province of Drenthe, the State and Europe. We have also worked intensively with concerned residents. Because when plans are made to provide existing houses with a new heat system, it is natural to work out those plans together with the residents of those houses.’ The construction and transition to hydrogen is new and hardly applied in the Netherlands yet. It therefore requires a lot of customisation in areas such as technology, regulations and finance. ‘Now we are at the special moment of moving from thinking together to doing together,’ the alderman said.

Before the shovel went into the ground, the cooperating partners signed a symbolic cooperation agreement for the first phase of the hydrogen project: the construction of the hydrogen distribution system and the connection of homes in Nijstad-Oost and a number of existing homes in Erflanden. Westendorp: ‘We hope to connect the first homes in the Erflanden neighbourhood to the system after the summer of 2023, and later also the new-build homes in Nijstad-Oost.’ After that, another council decision will be taken on the further approach in Erflanden.

Hydrogen as green replacement for natural gas

The Netherlands must eventually get rid of natural gas. In the Hydrogen Hoogeveen project, we want to heat houses with a boiler running on hydrogen. It concerns newly to be built houses in Nijstad-Oost and existing houses in part of Erflanden, bordering Nijstad-Oost. With this project, the partners want to demonstrate that hydrogen is a good green substitute for natural gas. Part of the project is reuse of RENDO’s existing natural gas network for the transport of hydrogen, eliminating the need to build new pipelines where there are already natural gas pipelines. Hoogeveen wants the Hydrogen District to contribute to making neighbourhoods more sustainable with green hydrogen. Westendorp: ‘We can learn now, together with other hydrogen projects in Lochem, Wagenborgen and Stad aan het Haringvliet. This way, we can work on the conditions needed to scale up to other neighbourhoods in the Netherlands after 2030.’

Pictures by: Gerrit Boer