Our ambition: becoming the world’s first carbon dioxide negative, fully sustainable chemical region by 2050. At Chemport Europe, in the TopDutch region, we are on this mission to make our chemical industry fully green. The only way to do so: start at the very beginning of the chain, with key roles for offshore wind and biomass in providing green energy for our 100 percent green industrial processes.
Chemport Europe: sailing before the wind
Innumerable factors make Chemport Europe the ideal ecosystem for ‘greening’ the chemical industry. But it’s feather in the cap? Location. The nearness of the North Sea provides the TopDutch region with strong winds, holding the key to sustainable electricity.
In fact, the TopDutch region already has an absolute wind-gem to share with the world: the 600-megawatt Gemini offshore windpark. The world’s second largest, located in the North Sea. Its 150 turbines are already connected to the grid in Topdutch’s Eemshaven seaport. By 2050, offshore wind will estimately generate most of the energy used at Chemport Europe.
What do these numbers mean? The rising number of windparks connected to the Eemshaven seaport together with an increasing capacity, will turn the chemical clusters in the TopDutch Region into green electricity hubs, as projected, by 2030.
By using wind - and biomass as well - fossil fuels like coal and natural gas are no longer needed.
Wind power for an increasingly green future
Why is this important? Errit Bekkering, business developer at the regional developing agency NOM, puts it in a nutshell. ,,By using wind - and biomass as well - fossil fuels like coal and natural gas are no longer needed.’’
Yes, in the TopDutch region, the abundance of offshore wind and biomass will ultimately lead to a complete replacement of fossil resources. And that is pretty exciting, we think. Not only in light of the Paris Agreement and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, but also because it will put an end to the recurring earthquakes due to natural gas extraction in the region.
Offshore wind is the indispensable link to a greener future. Bekkering explains why: ,,Offshore wind can be used for electrolysis. If you put two electrodes in a glass of water, you can separate it into oxygen and hydrogen. Both can be used in chemical processes.’’
Hydrogen has a number of benefits. First, it is clean and safe. Second, it can be used as transportation fuel and in electricity production. Third, it is a feedstock for industrial processes. And last, it can easily be converted into liquid chemicals, like ammonia or methanol. In fact, methanol based on fossil resources is already being produced in one of Chemport’s two locations: Delfzijl. It can be used to obtain a hoist of chemical products.
Using green hydrogen is the crucial point, Bekkering underlines. ,,You can make a completely green product by using green hydrogen and green electricity from offshore wind to convert the materials.’’
You can make a completely green product by using green hydrogen and green electricity from offshore wind to convert the materials.
The next step
Chemport Europe is increasingly becoming green. In Delfzijl, intermediate chemicals are made. Emmen, the second location, is the place for the next step: innovative polymers and synthetic fibers. But offshore wind and biomass are not the only crucial factors in the processes. Bekkering enumerates some of the TopDutch region’s advantages: ,,We have raw materials, such as sugar beets, potatoes, and grains, since the area is relatively rural. Furthermore, we have three regional seaports. So, importing green feedstock is easy. As well, nearby Campus Groningen is home to two universities and over 55,000 students. In other words, there is knowledge all around. The combination of these assets, offshore wind and biomass makes the TopDutch region like no other in Europe.’’
In the TopDutch region, we create the right chemistry for sustainable development. ,,If we link our talent with Chemport Europe, link regional resources with manufacturing capabilities and make use of existing infrastructure and its location, we can really be an example for the rest of the world’’, says Bekkering.
Despite, there is one bump in the road ahead. The current facilities at Chemport Europe need to scale up. In order to do so, we need to increase collaboration on an international level. ,,The chemical industry is a global industry’’, reminds Bekkering. Thus, we believe there is chemistry between nations. They should combine resources, knowledge, and talent to work together towards a more green future. We believe Chemport Europe is one of the best ecosystems in the world to innovate, start up, scale up, and locate your European branche.
This figure shows the current energy management system of the industrial cluster in the Eemsdelta.
This figure shows the carbon dioxide negative energy management system of the industrial cluster in the Eemsdelta by 2050.