Filling up at our hydrogen station
“I’m just going to fill up with hydrogen, see you later!” You might hear this at the Dassenveld distribution centre. Since 2012, we’ve had a hydrogen station. It produces hydrogen using renewable energy from the wind turbines and solar panels there. And we use that green energy as fuel. In 2015, we expanded the station extensively, it produces twice as much (2.7 kg per hour) and can now store up to 85 kg of hydrogen.
Producing hydrogen, storing it and converting it back into electricity
Dimitri Van den Borre is a project engineer at the hydrogen station. He proudly explains, “The installation produces hydrogen via electrolysis based on green energy.” And what do we do with the hydrogen then? Two things. “An increasing number of pallet transporters in the distribution centre run on hydrogen. And we also have a hydrogen car which fills up here regularly.” And that’s not all: the 120 kW fuel cell works as a buffer. The surplus green energy is stored as hydrogen. “When we don’t generate enough power, we convert the hydrogen back into electricity.”
We also carry out all kinds of tests at our hydrogen station. We do them for the Don Quichote project, a European research project into the potential of hydrogen as an energy buffer. What are these tests for? We mainly want to prove that it's technically and economically feasible to store and transport green power. And that hydrogen is ideal for doing that on a large scale. Dimitri adds, “We already had experience with hydrogen in transport and logistics, but you can see that we’re taking another step forward with the hydrogen fuel station.”
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.