King to visit hydrogen projects in Germany – programme

His Majesty the King has accepted an invitation from Hendrik Wüst, the prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, to visit various hydrogen-related businesses and institutes in this German state. He will be accompanied by Hans Vijlbrief, State Secretary for the Extractive Industries. The visit will take place on 14 November 2023.

The Netherlands is regarded as a frontrunner in the green hydrogen transition and aims to be a major player in the import, production and export of hydrogen. Hydrogen plays a crucial role in the energy transition – particularly in the industry and transport sectors – and in both Germany and the Netherlands, huge volumes of green hydrogen will be needed to achieve it. 

North Rhine-Westphalia wants to use hydrogen to develop a climate-neutral industrial region. This presents the Netherlands with strategic opportunities to operate as a hub for the import and transport of hydrogen to Germany. Crossborder transport and storage infrastructure, supply security and sharing and building knowledge will be central topics during the King’s working visit. 

Economic mission

In tandem with the King’s visit, an economic mission focusing on the hydrogen sector will take place on 14 and 15 November. Around 40 Dutch businesses will be taking part in the mission, which will be led by Hans Vijlbrief and Theo Henrar, chair of FME, the employers’ organisation for the technology industry.

Marl Chemical Park (Chemiepark Marl)

The programme will start with a meeting between King Willem-Alexander and Hendrik Wüst. The King and Mr Wüst will then visit Marl Chemical Park, where they will learn more about the site’s history and discuss hydrogen import and transport and its industrial uses. They will then follow a presentation on the Rheticus research project, a pilot plant that uses hydrogen and carbon dioxide in innovative methods to produce new chemicals. Finally, the King will talk to students and teachers on the importance of high-quality vocational training for a career in the sustainable production of chemicals. 

Hydrogen and fuel cell centre ZBT (Zentrum für Brennstoffzellen-Technik)

In the afternoon, the King and Mr Wüst will visit the hydrogen and fuel cell centre ZBT (Zentrum für Brennstoffzellen-Technik (ZBT), a research institute in Duisburg which works closely with its Dutch partner, NedStack. They will talk to experts on the development of technologies and the importance of a strong manufacturing industry for these technologies in Europe. There will also be meetings with members of the economic mission. King Willem-Alexander and Mr Wüst will then go on to visit the test lab for a presentation on the development of fuel cells. They will talk to experts from ZBT about test facilities for filling hydrogen tanks and hydrogen analysis, with attention to hydrogen refuelling stations. A hydrogen-powered vehicle will be refuelled and used to drive the King and Mr Wüst to the port of Duisburg to continue their programme. 

Port of Duisburg (Duisport)

The port of Duisburg is developing a clean energy terminal, in which hydrogen will play a leading role. In Duisburg, the King will officially launch the MS Antonie, a Dutch hydrogen- powered electric cargo vessel. Before hydrogen can be exported from the Netherlands to North Rhine-Westphalia, the relevant infrastructure must be expanded. Various partnership agreements on connecting the national hydrogen pipeline networks and the Delta Rhine Corridor will therefore be signed during a tour of Duisport). By 2026, the aim is for ten hydrogen-powered inland vessels to be operating on the route between Rotterdam, Duisburg and Cologne, served by at least four hydrogen refuelling stations. 

Connecting and matchmaking event

The King and Mr Wüst will attend the H2 connecting event ‘Building inter-European hydrogen corridors’, which will be held in Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord, a park combining nature and industrial heritage built on the site of an old ironworks dating from 1902. This event will bring together around 30 private Dutch and German actors in the hydrogen supply chain with the aim of accelerating the development of an inter-European corridor. An SME matchmaking event will then be held in the Power Plant venue, to be attended by representatives of 100 businesses from the two countries. The King will talk to a number of the entrepreneurs and knowledge institutions there. 

Trade dinner

The working visit will conclude with a trade dinner with representatives of 250 businesses. Hans Vijlbrief, State Secretary for the Extractive Industries, will deliver a speech. 

On Friday 27 October 2023, King Willem-Alexander will be in Rotterdam to attend the ceremony marking the start of construction of the first part of the national hydrogen network. In June this year, he visited the Spanish provinces of Castilla-La Mancha and Andalusia, where he focused on the development of hydrogen networks and knowledge sharing. Hydrogen was also the main topic of the King’s visits to Delft University of Technology in 2021 and to Kleefse Waard Industrial Park in Arnhem, the port of Rotterdam and various projects on the North Sea in 2022. 

Government Information Service, no. 252