Two companies to test green hydrogen and circularity projects at Port of Antwerp-Bruges

Ohio-based Power to Hydrogen has signed up to demonstrate its anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolysis technology on an industrial scale at the Port of Antwerp-Bruges as part of the port’s innovation hub initiative.

Image credit: Power to Hydrogen

Power to Hydrogen is one of the first concessionaires signed for NextGen Demo, a zone of about 2 hectares in the heart of the Antwerp port, where demonstrators (start-ups and scale-ups, spin-off companies, and pilot projects) can test their projects in energy transition and circularity on a larger scale and in an industrial environment before moving to commercialization.

The company aims to accelerate the transition to a green hydrogen economy through AEM electrolysis which is said to be a potential solution to drastically reduce the cost of green hydrogen production using renewable energy.

As explained, the technology has never been applied on an industrial scale before, and the AEM electrolysis stack for the NextGen demo project, which will be installed in the fourth quarter of 2024, will be the largest in the world.

This demonstration is also being financially supported by global utility players, including American Electric Power, EDP, E.ON, and ESB as part of the Free Electrons utility innovation program.

Paul Matter, CEO of Power to Hydrogen, said: “Hydrogen is an important product for the industrial cluster in the port and for the transition to climate neutrality. With our installation in NextGen Demo, we want to demonstrate that AEM electrolysis, which significantly reduces the cost of green hydrogen production, is capable of operating sustainably in a port environment. This project will continue to position Port of Antwerp-Bruges as a leader in the development of a green hydrogen ecosystem for Europe and the world.”

The second company that has chosen the Port of Antwerp-Bruges’ port environment to test its innovative technology is TripleW. The company has developed an industrial process to produce lactic acid, which serves as a raw material for biodegradable plastics and biochemicals, made entirely from food waste.

TripleW wants to expand the application of this technology to a broader range of food waste streams and end products by demonstrating its scalability and adaptability with the project in the NextGen Demo. The project is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2024.

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, commented: “NextGen Demo is the quintessential place where new technology finds its access in the exciting fabric of the port and industry. Demonstrators here have the space to grow and join a valuable network of fellow pioneers, partners, and customers. These first two projects fit perfectly within our strategic vision and our ambition to be, in addition to a green energy and raw materials hub, also a circular hub. I am convinced that the innovative technologies that both companies will test in our port environment can be trailblazers.”

The NextGen Demo innovation hub is situated within the 88-hectare NextGen District that was cleared to establish a hotspot for the circular economy in the Port of Antwerp-Bruges.

According to the port, NextGen District has attracted global pioneers, such as Plug which invests in a green hydrogen factory. Bolder Industries, PureCycle, and Triple Helix will respectively recycle car tires, polypropylene and polyurethane foam, and PET trays, and Ekopak is committed to circular water use.

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