The Stronghouse Hydrogen Tour

02 May 2023 - Published by Deirdre Buist
On 29th and 30th March, the Stronghouse project focus was on hydrogen applications in the built environment. The recent Stronghouse Hydrogen Tour in the Northern Netherlands and Bremerhaven, organized by colleagues from the Municipality of Hoogeveen, was a great success. This can be attributed to the extremely interesting presentations, inspiring visits and, above all, great interaction with a fun group of creative minds and technical experts.

The main reason for this tour was to gain more practical insights into the hydrogen chain, which is of great importance when connecting neighbourhoods and individual houses to green hydrogen. Topics such as the required hydrogen network, hydrogen equipment, training and public support were all tackled during the course of the event.

Starting early, the first stop on day 1 found the  participants at the Hydrogen Tiny House in Hoogeveen. Here, various partners and associates from the Waterstofwijk Hoogeveen  presented different aspects of this innovative project and the roles played by a number of organizations. Within the Stronghouse project, Hoogeveen shares their hydrogen knowledge and expertise with the other partners and will illustrate the important contribution  green hydrogen can make to the  natural gas-free, Dutch housing stock by:

         • reusing the existing natural gas network

         • installing a new hydrogen central heating boiler

Waterstofwijk Hoogeveen

Kees Boer, Project Manager and tour organizer from the Municipality of Hoogeveen, introduced an impressive line-up:"It's very energizing to be able to facilitate this kind of exchange between local, national and international stakeholders." Besides  speakers from the Municipality, participants were treated to presentations from representatives of the residents of the Waterstofwijk Hoogeveen, RENDO (gas network), Alfacollege (Technical College developing new educational courses on H2), REMEHA (installation company) and entrepreneurs excited to share the potential of hydrogen as a sustainable energy source.


Stronghouse on tour - first stop was the Tiny Hydrogen House in Hoogeveen

EnTrance Centre of Expertise

The journey then continued towards Groningen for a session at the EnTranCe Centre of Expertise. Lecturers from the Hanze University of Applied Sciences shared their insights on a series of projects and research, while Stronghouse partners from the Robert Gordon University (Scotland) and Vives Hogeschool provided a transnational perspective.  Next on the programme - a guided tour of the hydrogen test centre (WING) and BuildinG! where sustainable innovations are developed, applied and shared.


Visiting the EnTrance Centre of Expertise

Gasunie & HEAVVEN

Finally, between courses at dinner in Groningen, the group was also treated to more inspiring presentations from the Gasunie and HEAVENN The Gasunie aims to develop the hydrogen market and stimulate supply and demand so hydrogen becomes just as affordable as green gas and electricity. HEAVENN is a large-scale, six-year programme  of demo projects in the Northern Netherlands which is bringing together the production, distribution, storage and local end-use of hydrogen into a fully-integrated and functioning “H2 valley” (H2V), that can serve as a blueprint for replication across Europe and beyond. The hydrogen neighbourhood in Hoogeveen is also part of the HEAVENN programme.

GAE - Hydrogen Valley Airport

"On the second day of the tour, we were intrigued to learn more from our German partners in Bremerhaven about the hydrogen initiatives in that region," Kees continues."But first we had a planned stop at Groningen Airport Eelde to learn more about their future plans." Jonas van Dorp - the regional airport's Commerce, Communication and Business Development Manager - presented the  H2 Ground Power Unit (GPU), shared the latest updates as the first  Hydrogen Valley Airport and provided a tour of the facilities. Kees: "We were really grateful for this behind-the-scenes view. It was great to see such innovative sustainable initiatives up close and learn more about GAE's role as an aviation test bed."


Groningen Airport Eelde is a Hydrogen Valley Airport

H2 in Bremerhaven

In Bremerhaven, Stronghouse colleague Till Scherzinger had arranged a series of visits. First stop was the 'MICROGRID' sub-project at Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences. A cycle has been created in which green hydrogen is produced and stored with the help of renewable energy sources. If necessary, this can also be used as an energy source for the supply of electricity and heat to a wide variety of building structures. 

Microgrid, production, storage

Till explains: "With the help of the model setup in the MICROGRID container on the university campus, it's possible to make statements about storage density, safety, service life, user-friendliness, freedom from maintenance and the energy self-sufficiency of so-called island grids in the future. This could be used to promote 'green electricity'  supply to households. We see the connection with what our Stronghouse partners in Hoogeveen are doing. We can always learn more from each other."

Wind & hydrogen 

At Fraunhofer IWES the participants heard more about the Hydrogen Lab Bremerhaven and the interaction between wind turbines and electrolytic hydrogen production. The test site is still under construction but, once complete, this will offer a highly innovative infrastructure where scientists can test the interaction between a wind turbine and electrolyzer on a real scale, among other things. The deep, cross-sector integration of electrolysis (e.g., through the use of by-products) as well as the use of reconversion technologies for microgrid and grid-supporting applications, is also part of the scientific work being carried out here.

With the Hydrogen Lab Bremerhaven, Fraunhofer IWES is advancing the integration of hydrogen technologies into the energy-economic system at both a national and an international level, as well as accelerating green hydrogen production. 

Testing H2 applications

The last tour stop was the  ttz Bremerhaven, part of the project Grüner Gas für Bremerhaven. This facility is for testing hydrogen components and integrated systems in 3-dimensional space - a unique trial infrastructure, available to test new technologies with hydrogen applications. Here again, the group were treated to many fascinating examples of what is potentially possible using H2 as an energy source in the near future.

All in all, this was a truly inspiring event for all delegates - although a few did  sometimes struggle with the amount of technical details. Certainly, it was a  remarkable, knowledge-packed event  - a Stronghouse exchange highlight! 

A delegate* has shared a visual summary of the excursion.

*Credits to Willem Hazenberg.

With gratitude to the following presentors at the Tiny House in Hoogeveen.

•        Kees Boer, Waterstofwijk Hoogeveen

•        Bastiaan Meijer, RENDO Regional gas grid operator

•        Sjoerd Ijdema, project leader residents Hydrogen District Hoogeveen

•        Alco Otten, Alfacollege. Students of the Alfacollege built the hydrogen Tiny House

•        Raymond van de Tempel, REMEHA. Developer & supplier of the hydrogen central heating boiler

•        Eric Hommes, Doc33Party -developing applied education for H2 with government & industry

  • René Wit, we-doubleyouenergy, Developer and supplier of the self-sufficient hydrogen system of the hydrogen Tiny house

Access the presentations

All available presentations can be accessed by clicking on the relevant links below. Bonus: unfortunately Willem Henskens from Essent was unable to join us on the day, but he has been kind enough to share his presentation here too. Essent is the party that buys in hydrogen to sell to consumers.

Alco Otten, Alfacollege

Bastiaan Meijer, RENDO

Carina Wiekens, Hanzehogeschool Groningen

Daisy Tempelman, Hanzehogeschool

Eric Hommes, Doc33

Amar Bennadji, Hanzehogeschool Groningen

Arne Vuylsteke, Hogeschool VIVES

Jochem Durenkamp, HEAVENN

Jonas van Dorp, NXT Airport, Groningen Airport Eelde

Kees Boer, Waterstofwijk Hoogeveen

Raymond van de Tempel, REMEHA

René Wit, WE doubleyouenergy

Ronald Velthuizen, Gasunie

Sjoerd IJdema, Residents of Waterstofwijk Hoogeveen

Willem Henskens, Essent







 * Top photo: The Microgrid at the Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences