Document type: National Strategy
Title: Federal Hydrogen Vision and Strategy followed a year later by the Renewed Federal Hydrogen Vision and Strategy
Released: First Federal Hydrogen Vision and Strategy released October 2021, Renewed Federal Hydrogen Vision and Strategy presented October 2022
The strategy (Council of Ministers approval received on 29 October 2021) is part of the European hydrogen strategy and is based on four pillars:
- Positioning Belgium as an import and transit hub in Europe for renewable molecules in Europe
- Expanding Belgian leadership in hydrogen technologies
- Establishing a robust hydrogen market
- Investing in cooperation as a key success factor
The strategy notes that while much of Belgium’s transition to climate neutrality will focus on electrification and energy efficiency, this is not always technically feasible or economically realistic. The strategy reviews sectoral uses of hydrogen (and its derivatives) and identifies (heavy) industry, (freight and maritime) transport and electricity storage sectors as areas where hydrogen can play a role in decarbonising the Belgian economy.
The strategy envisages the exclusive use of renewables-based hydrogen in Belgium’s energy mix by 2050; as a transitional measure, however, the strategy indicates that ‘low-carbon’ hydrogen has a role to play in accelerating the reduction of CO2 emissions and kick-starting the market.
The strategy notes that electrolysis capacity will be limited in Belgium due to limited renewable resource potential and as a result the strategy sets a target within the National Recovery and Resilience Plan of having at least 150 MW of electrolysis capacity in operation by 2026.
The strategy notes Belgium importing significant quantities of renewables-based hydrogen and its derivatives (20 TWh in 2030 and between 200-350 TWh in 2050) to cover domestic demand (projected at 125-200 TWh in 2050, bunkering fuels included) as well as the transit activities to neighbouring countries.
The strategy notes the Government’s intention to pursued development of a hydrogen transport network and the ambition to have such network interconnected with at least Germany, France and the Netherlands by 2028 to support Belgium’s positioning as an import and transit hub. The strategy foresees a funding envelope of around €300 million to support interconnection of Belgium’s hydrogen transport network with Germany by 2028.
Market confidence and transparency is to be enabled through supporting development of a European voluntary certification scheme, development of a specific market platform for hydrogen and its derivatives and drafting of a gas quality standard to be developed by the hydrogen network operator.
In April 2022, the Belgium Council of Ministers released €300 million to support the development of hydrogen and carbon dioxide transport infrastructure. In July 2023, the Council of Ministers approved the use of €250 million from this envelope for the construction of a hydrogen connection with Germany and the development of a hydrogen transport network in and between the industrial clusters of Ghent, Antwerp, Mons, Charleroi and Liège. This subsidy is to be made available to the hydrogen transmission system operator, to be designated in accordance with the Pipeline Hydrogen Transport Act (which entered into force in August 2023).
In June 2023, the European Commission approved, under EU State aid rules, a €280 million Belgian measure to support ArcelorMittal to partially decarbonise its steel production facility in Ghent. The aid, which will take the form of a direct grant and a soft loan, will support the construction of a direct reduction iron plant. The plant is envisioned to start operating in 2026.
In September 2023, press reports indicated that the the Belgium Government would undertake a call for projects, to be launched in October 2023 with a budget of €10 million, to prepare Belgian ports for hydrogen imports; the main focus being the port of Antwerp-Bruges.
Updated: October 2023