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Pact signed for green hydrogen certification pilot project in Oman


Belgian-based international renewable energy and marine infrastructure firm DEME is starting a pilot project for the certification of green hydrogen it plans to produce in the Sultanate of Oman. The green energy certificate will allow hydrogen to be imported into Belgium as a low or zero-carbon energy resource.

Eng Salim bin Nasser al Aufi, Oman’s Minister of Energy and Minerals and Tinne Van der Straeten, Belgium’s Minister of Energy, signed an agreement on the experimental project of green energy certification in Brussels on Monday. The agreement aims to evaluate the adherence of green hydrogen production in Oman to the requirements of the European Union. The move will pave the way to exporting green hydrogen to European markets in the future.

During the signing, the parties applauded the initiative of DEME that wants to start the certification, a recognised green certificate, for the hydrogen it plans to import from Oman to Belgium and the rest of Europe.

OQ (the global integrated energy group of the Sultanate of Oman) and DEME Concessions (the renewable energy and offshore marine infrastructure arm of Belgium’s DEME Group) are jointly building a hydrogen plant, Hyport Duqm, in the port of Duqm. The joint venture was allocated a 150 square kilometers zone, with a space for 1.3 gigawatts of wind turbines and solar parks. There will be a 500 megawatt electrolysis installation to convert the generated green electricity into hydrogen.

This will be shipped in the form of green ammonia to regions in the world, such as Europe, where the industry is looking for ways to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions on a large scale.

To guarantee that the imported hydrogen is really made from renewable energy and does not come from fossil natural gas, a system must be set up to trace its origin. DEME and OQ are now setting up a pilot project for this. Strategy consulting firm Hinicio was tasked to prepare the certification of the hydrogen. Hinicio worked on CertifHy as the first GO certification system for Europe, a project that is now supported by the European Commission.

Talks have also started with the European Commission, which is working out the criteria that hydrogen must meet in order to be recognized as 'green'. With this, Eng Salem bin Nasser al Aufi, Oman’s Minister of Energy and Minerals, met separately yesterday in Brussels, Van der Straten, Belgian Minister of Energy, and Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission.

During the two meetings, they discussed aspects of enhancing cooperation and coordination with the European Commission in the regulatory frameworks for clean hydrogen production and transportation projects, and opportunities to enhance existing cooperation with the Kingdom of Belgium in the areas of investment in green hydrogen production, transportation and storage projects.

A series of specialised workshops were held between the European Commission, the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Belgium during the visit and dealt with the general framework for hydrogen certificates, investment opportunities in supply chains and knowledge of Belgium’s plans and projects to convert to hydrogen, and the initiatives supervised by the European Commission to stimulate investment in this sector.

The Omani delegation is on a three-day visit in Belgium and is set to tour the Fluxys LNG import terminal in Zeebrugge, an offshore wind farm off the coast of Ostend and the Royal Museum in Antwerp.

"A robust certification scheme is essential to kick-start the green hydrogen market of tomorrow," says Van der Straeten, who asks that the European Commission speed up the certification process. “The sooner Europe can certify green hydrogen, the sooner we can get the breakthrough of the molecule off the ground and the more Belgium can play to its strengths as a European energy hub for hydrogen.”

DEME's certification project represents an investment of 1.3 million euros. The plan is to have certification for green hydrogen from Oman in place by 2025, so that production can start by 2026.

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