Large Brabant companies such as VDL, FujiFilm, DAF and Heijmans join forces and work together on hydrogen. Not only about 50 companies, but also the universities and universities of applied sciences in Brabant, are behind the Brabant Hydrogen Coalition (BWC). They think it is high time to catch up. With the aim: to develop Brabant as an innovation top region into a leading hydrogen province.
At local and regional level, Brabant is already working hard on all kinds of hydrogen projects. “Great, but it must be more robust,” says BWC director Paul Nijskens (ex-director Rewin). “You should expect more in Brabant in particular. The ambition level must be higher. With our technological knowledge and powerful manufacturing industry, we are ideally placed to make the potential of hydrogen applicable. This is where the top industry in the Netherlands is located and it emphatically wants to work with it. As a coalition, we want to join forces, share knowledge and scale up projects. ”
Brabant has various regional platforms that focus on hydrogen. In Northeast Brabant, for example, there is the Platform Ondernemend Meierijstad, to which companies such as Jumbo, VanderLande, Sligro, Mars and Friesland Campina are affiliated. In Mid-Brabant, Midpoint Brabant focuses, among other things, on hydrogen applications for heavy duty transport. In Southeast Brabant, the Brabant Development Agency (BOM) is working with partners, such as Brainport Development, to supply residential areas with heat via green hydrogen.
“By 2030, half of all cars sold are expected to be electric, half of which will be hydrogen-electric. Brabant wants to play a prominent role in this development. Then you have to speed up, otherwise you will miss the boat, ”says hydrogen entrepreneur Paul Smits, owner of H2Point and also a BWC board member.
It is striking that the province of Brabant in particular does not take an active role. “Business sees urgency. And that also applies to knowledge institutions. It is precisely in this phase that strong back support from the province of Noord Brabant is crucial to get large, province-wide projects rolling. “It is important to set up a Brabant hydrogen agenda and to link it to the national and European agenda,” says BWC board member Leo Dubbeldam (former director of SER-Brabant and BrabantAdvies).
According to the BWC board, the current period is ideally suited to continue. Lambert van Nistelrooij (former MEP and deputy in Brabant): “Partly due to the corona crisis, more and more people are realizing that we are ready for new, more sustainable solutions. The benefits of hydrogen are evident. Look at the climate objectives, CO2 and also nitrogen, which is such a hot topic in Brabant. The knife cuts on several sides with hydrogen. In addition to climate gains, a forefront of hydrogen also provides many additional jobs. ”
Van Nistelrooij emphasizes that the hydrogen plans of the Brabant companies and knowledge institutions fit seamlessly with the 'European Green Deal' that Frans Timmermans presented on behalf of the European Commission at the end of last year.
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