3 mei 2024

First homes in Hoogeveen are switching to hydrogen

After years of preparation, the time has come: the Consumer & Market Authority (ACM) has granted permission to use hydrogen in the Hydrogen Hoogeveen project. The way is now clear to actually connect the first homes to hydrogen. Ten existing homes in the Erflanden district of Hoogeveen are initially involved. The hundred or so new-build homes in Nijstad-Oost will also get a hydrogen boiler.
By 2050, all homes in the Netherlands must be able to be heated without natural gas. In Hoogeveen, we are laying the foundations for this future by starting to heat homes with hydrogen. This is happening in the Waterstof Hoogeveen project, where we will heat homes with a boiler running on hydrogen. In the transition from natural gas to hydrogen, the current natural gas network will be used and adapted to transport hydrogen. The adaptation in the home is limited and retains the possibility for other solutions to make the home more sustainable.

Important milestone
Councillor Jeroen Westendorp is very happy with the ACM’s approval: ‘Together with our partners, we have been working towards this important moment for six years. These partners have worked hard to get the preconditions in place for this project. This is not only important for this project; our experience helps in the possible scaling up of hydrogen in the built environment. After a careful and intensive process, ACM’s approval is confirmation that we have done a solid job together. A big compliment to the residents of the Erflanden hydrogen neighbourhood is also in order. They have always shown positive interest and through their input we have been able to keep honing and improving the plan.’

Hydrogen system is safe, reliable and affordable
The ACM wants to give grid operators and energy suppliers room to gain experience with the use of hydrogen for home heating in anticipation of new legislation. That is why the ACM allows pilot projects with hydrogen in the built environment, if companies properly guarantee safety and comply with the consumer protection rules from the Temporary Hydrogen Pilot Framework. This involves ensuring a reliable, affordable and safe hydrogen system. The granting of the permit decision is a nice result of the cooperation of Hoogeveen municipality with the partners in the Hydrogen Hoogeveen project: RENDO, N-TRA, Gasunie, Essent and Remeha.

What has already happened and what is going to happen?
The pipeline network for supplying hydrogen is ready and by December 2023, the first ten homes in Erflanden will be prepared for conversion to hydrogen. To this end, adjustments have been made to the electrics and the homes have been fitted with induction hobs. Contractor Van Reel is laying the access roads and fencing for the location where the tubetrailer brings hydrogen. Stork, commissioned by Gasunie, is building the hydrogen receiving station. The entire hydrogen distribution system will be ready before the construction period. The Hydrogen Tiny House will be the first existing house to be fitted with the hydrogen connection. This allows the entire hydrogen distribution system to be tested. Essent, responsible for supplying the green hydrogen, ensures that procurement of the hydrogen is contracted and delivered from a source near Hoogeveen. All these actions will ensure that the first homes can be connected to hydrogen after the summer holidays.

Case study
With the connection of the first homes in Erflanden, other residents of the Hydrogen District can see a practical example. The experience of connecting the first homes in Erflanden to hydrogen will be used in drawing up the neighbourhood implementation plan for the entire Hydrogen District. This plan describes the route for making the neighbourhood natural gas-free. This will include the connection of homes to hydrogen. Because not all homes are willing and able to run on hydrogen, the option of a heat pump is also included in the plan. The district implementation plan will be submitted to the residents of the Hydrogen district in a residents’ poll, after which the municipal council will eventually make a decision.

New-build Nijstad-Oost
Part of the Hydrogen Hoogeveen project is the connection of the new-build homes in Nijstad-Oost to hydrogen. The issuance of the plots in this project has started now that the ACM’s permission is in and the Municipal Executive has decided to start the issuance of Nijstad-Oost. Information can be found at www.iederserf.nl.

Natural gas-free neighbourhoods programme
Hydrogen Hoogeveen is one of the projects of the national Natural Gas-Free Neighbourhoods Programme in which the national government, water boards and municipalities are working together on the natural gas-free task. In the living lab, we are gaining knowledge that will enable us to fulfil preconditions for scaling up this method after 2030. These include technical knowledge, availability of hydrogen boilers, safety guarantees, well-trained installers and legislation enabling the use of hydrogen in homes for heating. Hydrogen Hoogeveen is a project of Essent, RENDO, N-TRA, Gasunie, Remeha and the Municipality of Hoogeveen. Hydrogen Hoogeveen is also part of HEAVENN. HEAVENN brings together various hydrogen projects and activities in the fields of production, distribution, storage and end-use in the Northern Netherlands. The programme aims to gain experience with the possibilities of hydrogen and share this with other parties in the sector.