Why is our hydrogen green?

For anyone who is committed to the environment, hydrogen is the fuel of the future. Because a car which runs on hydrogen doesn’t emit CO2, just harmless water vapour. To be 100% sustainable, the hydrogen must, of course, also be produced using renewable green energy. And that’s what we do at Colruyt Group. So our hydrogen is totally ecological.

Making hydrogen via electrolysis

Hydrogen (H2) rarely occurs in nature in its pure form. So we have to produce it ourselves. This can be done using electrolysis. This is a chemical process in which water is split by electricity into hydrogen and oxygen. The resulting hydrogen is only ‘green’ if you use renewable electricity. And that’s what we’ve been doing since 2012 in the Dassenveld distribution centre in Halle. We use electrolysis to convert the energy from our wind turbines and solar panels into hydrogen.

Solar panel
We use only renewable energy for electrolysing water.

Hydrogen fits into a smart energy network

We want to work with a smart grid for our electricity: a smart network that matches energy supply and demand. By switching off electrical equipment automatically when there’s insufficient wind or sun. Or conversely, freezers working extra hard when a lot of green power is generated.

Because there’s not always enough wind when we want to use energy, we use a hydrogen buffer. This helps us to adapt flexibly to power generation. We convert green power into hydrogen if there’s a surplus, and when the wind turbines and solar panels produce less, we convert the stored hydrogen back into electricity. Our own hydrogen station manages the entire buffer.

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Distribution center with wind turbine
On very windy days, we store ‘surplus’ wind energy as hydrogen to create a buffer.

Hydrogen as a sustainable fuel

Hydrogen is also an alternative to fossil fuels. The major advantage is that cars or pallet transporters using hydrogen emit only water vapour. No particulates, soot or CO2. We have been testing a hydrogen car since 2015.

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Hydrogen car
The fuel cell in the hydrogen car can convert hydrogen back into electricity.

With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

Affordable and clean energy Industry, innovation & infrastructure Sustainable cities and communities Climate action