All about energy transition

The task is clear: we aim to bring the Port of Rotterdam in line with the Paris Climate Agreement objectives. In partnerships with companies, we are working towards a CO2-neutral port. There is a vision for how industry can switch to a CO2-neutral production method in three steps. You can find more about this below. A number of concrete projects on which we are currently working are categorised using these three steps. And transport is also addressed, as the logistics chain can and must become more sustainable.

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Step 1 projects - Efficiency & Infra

Industry can evolve into a CO2-neutral economy step-by-step. Step 1 is for existing industry to take all kinds of efficiency measures, residual heat will be used to heat homes, company buildings and greenhouses, and CO2 will be captured and stored beneath the North Sea.
South Holland heat network

The Netherlands will be supplying heat in a different way in the future. Currently a lot of natural gas is used in homes and horticultural greenhouses to create comfortable or fertile temperatures. At the same time, industry in the Port of Rotterdam creates a lot of heat for business processes. Part of this is reused in other factories, but most of the heat disappears into the air.

The Port Authority and Gasunie are working together to reuse this residual heat as a replacement for natural gas in households and greenhouses. CO2 emissions for the end user will also be reduced, and less gas will be needed from Groningen.

Steam network

Smarter cooperation between companies already resulted in the 2013 construction of the Botlek steam pipeline. The steam network connects industries that produce steam in their business processes with nearby companies that need such steam. This ensures that energy is used more efficiently and results in an annual CO2-emission reduction of some 400,000 tonnes.

The network is an example of how a smarter infrastructure makes it more attractive for companies to establish themselves in Rotterdam, as they also have the opportunities here to arrange the energy transition efficiently and with partners.

CO2 storage under the North Sea

Considerable CO2 reduction in industry with the Porthos project

The capture of the greenhouse gas CO2 for subsequent reuse or storage underground (Carbon Capture Usage and Storage, or CCUS) is one of the measures that the energy-intensive industry can take to considerably reduce CO2 emissions in the short term. The Third Rutte cabinet coalition agreement and the design of the Climate Agreement underline the importance of CCUS in realising national climate objectives.

Read more about CCUS and Porthos

Shore power from the grid

Sea-going vessels that arrive in Rotterdam need power at the quay for the power supply on board. Currently, diesel generators are usually used for this. Connection to a power grid is more complex for sea-going vessels than for inland shipping because of their huge consumption.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority considers it important that shore power is available for sea-going vessels. That is why a test location is being established, together with the municipality. Heerema, Eneco and the Port Authority have also started a feasibility study into green shore power in Calandkanaal. This will enable Heerema’s fleet to berth in the port using green power.

Smarter handling of current sources

Before society is able to run on a new energy system, a lot of technology will need to have been developed and scaled up. The first important step in the energy transition is, therefore, to manage current sources more efficiently.

According to research, industry can save approximately 20% in energy by optimising production processes, using improved insulation, applying fuel savings or using alternative fuels, and particularly also through smarter cooperation with other companies. For instance, using excess steam from one company that is needed by another.


Before society runs on a new energy system, there is still a lot of technology to be developed and scaled up. The first major step in the energy transition is therefore to use current sources more efficiently.
According to studies, industry can save around 20% energy by optimising production processes, using better insulation, applying fuel savings or using alternative fuels, and above all by cooperating more intelligently with other companies. For example: one company has steam left over that another can use.

Rotterdam industry produces less CO2 in 2018

Pernis Residual Heat Initiative

With this initiative, Shell, the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the Rotterdam Heat Company are jointly contributing to the acceleration of the Dutch energy transition by heating 16,000 Rotterdam households with residual heat from the refinery in Pernis.

Residual heat from Shell keeps 16,000 households warm
Residual heat

Lyondell Circular Steam project

The LyondellBasell and Covestro factory on the Maasvlakte produces raw materials for, among other things, insulation materials, paint and glue. The company invests approximately € 150 million in new installations that reduce CO₂ emissions by 140,000 tonnes per year. This is about 20% of the company's CO₂ emissions.

LyondellBasell invests in efficiency and CO₂ reduction

Infrastructure: now - 2030 - 2050

The concentration of industry in the port of Rotterdam is a good starting point for the success of the energy transition: a CO2-neutral economy with preservation of added value and employment. But then we have to make the most of the advantages of this concentration.

The companies are now strongly connected: they supply each other with products via pipelines and cables. This interconnected infrastructure is a crucial success factor now and will continue to be so in the future. But in the future it will partly be about other products or other volumes. Examples include networks for heat, steam, CO2 and hydrogen and the connection of the offshore wind farms to the existing onshore high-voltage network.


Step 2 projects - Towards a new energy system

Step 2 is the change of the energy system. Many industrial processes need high temperatures. These are now achieved mainly by using natural gas for heating. For temperatures up to around 300 degrees, industry can switch to electricity. For higher temperatures, hydrogen is a good alternative. If this is produced using green power, it is CO2 neutral. In the long term, electricity and hydrogen can play a huge role in making industry more sustainable. But a lot of electricity will then need to be generated from sources including solar, wind and water. This electricity also needs to be affordable.
Wind turbine production

A total wind turbine capacity of 200 megawatts (MW) is currently being created in the Rotterdam port area. This is some 10 per cent of the total wind power capacity in the Netherlands. The Dutch government has decreed that by 2020, 14 per cent of Dutch energy production must be generated from renewable sources, and that this should increase to 16 per cent by 2023. The Port of Rotterdam Authority is supporting this with the ‘Covenant on Realisation of Wind Power in the Port of Rotterdam’* (2009). According to the covenant, at least 150 MW new wind turbine capacity will be generated in public port areas by 2020. In the Port Vision, the Port Authority made agreements with various partners to achieve a total installed capacity of 300 MW by 2020. As a result, Rotterdam is well on its way to achieving its ambition to become the sustainable power plant of Northwest Europe.

Wind power
Eneco and Vattenfall open Slufterdam Wind Farm
Prototype of world’s most powerful wind turbine on Maasvlakte

North Sea Wind Power Hub

Within the North Sea Wind Power Hub consortium, TenneT TSO B.V. (The Netherlands), Energinet (Denmark), TenneT TSO GmbH (Germany), Gasunie and the Port of Rotterdam Authority are working on the development of a large-scale, sustainable European energy system on the North Sea.

Read more about the North Sea Wind Power Hub
Port of Rotterdam becomes fifth partner in North Sea Wind Power Hub

Landing offshore wind power

Industry needs a lot of green power to become more sustainable. This must largely come from the North Sea in the coming decades. That is why power cables from offshore wind farms are being laid to the port of Rotterdam.

Cable connection for offshore wind farms
Maasvlakte receives ‘power socket’ for offshore wind power

Wind on land

The largest concentration of wind turbines in South Holland is in the port area: some 200 MW capacity at the start of 2019. Existing turbines are regularly replaced with new, higher capacity turbines. In March 2019, for example, 17 turbines on Slufterdijk were replaced with 14 larger turbines with a total capacity that is almost double (50 MW).

Eneco and Vattenfall open Slufterdam 2.0 Wind Farm with double the capacity

Solar on roofs

Renewable energy such as wind and solar power is crucial to make the port more sustainable. The Port of Rotterdam considers it vital that companies in the port generate more electricity from renewable sources. Where possible we must use solar power. Company buildings in the port area are therefore increasingly being equipped with solar panels. Solar panels on company buildings are good for the environment, offer a higher balance value, require minimum maintenance, do not cause noise nuisance and give the buildings a sustainable look.

Geothermal energy

We are increasingly switching to sustainable energy sources, mainly solar and wind power. However, energy can also be obtained from the deep subsurface. Every 100 metres the ground is approximately 3 degrees warmer. This geothermal heat is also an alternative for fossil fuels.

Together with NAM, the Port Authority is examining the opportunities for a geothermal heat source in the western port area. If the heat (approx 170 degrees) is brought to the surface as hot water, it can be used as a renewable source of energy, particularly for the production of steam for industry.

Film Diederik Jekel, science journalist about #geothermal heat (NL)

Hydrogen and electrification

First blue hydrogen
Over one third of the energy demand in our country comes from industry and is mainly used to generate heat for industrial processes or electricity production. Fossil fuels are currently used for this, which results in considerable CO2 emissions.
Hydrogen is a good alternative. Large-scale production can currently only take place using natural gas. This releases CO2 that can be stored beneath the sea. This method creates blue hydrogen. 16 partners, including the Port Authority, are working in the H-vision project to develop a blue hydrogen factory in Rotterdam.

And later green hydrogen
Industry needs a lot of heat for production processes. This heat is currently generated using fossil fuels. Hydrogen is a good alternative for the high temperatures. First with blue hydrogen (made from natural gas), but it will be possible for green hydrogen to take a stronger position after 2030.
This green quality hydrogen is made by using electrolysis to split water into hydrogen and water. When the electricity used is generated by a wind farm, this process and product is entirely sustainable.

A green future for coal-powered plants

The Third Rutte cabinet coalition agreement agreed to stop using coal for electricity generation in the Netherlands by 2030. Two Uniper and Engie plants recently opened on Maasvlakte. Both companies are investigating how the plants (via conversion) can also play a valuable role in the Dutch energy landscape even after they stop using coal.

European research project for innovative conversion of coal-powered plant into biomass


Step 3 projects - Towards a new raw materials and fuel system

The replacement of fossil fuels with biomass, recycling ‘waste’ and using green hydrogen.
Rotterdam as Waste-to-Value hub

The road to a CO₂-neutral future is no easy task for an industrial logistics complex that operates on a global scale. It concerns a radical transition, in which many interests are at stake.
As part of the national climate agreement, a working group with representatives from the business community, science, administration and social organisations has also set out a route for the Rotterdam-Moerdijk industrial area that introduces far-reaching innovation.

Read more about Rotterdam as Waste-to-Value hub

Bleaching earth

Bleaching earth is used to purify vegetable oil. Depending on how intensively the bleaching earth is used, the bleaching earth becomes saturated after a few weeks. It then mainly becomes waste. A new facility transforms this into new raw materials, including by obtaining oil from the bleaching earth. This extracted oil can, for example, be used as biofuel and the remaining bleaching earth used in building materials.

Saturated bleaching earth is worth millions

REKO constructs plant for thermal cleaning of tar-retaining asphalt granulate

REKO is constructing a new thermal cleaning plant that can convert 1.2 million tonnes of residual waste (a mix of tar-retaining asphalt granulate and bituminous waterproofing) entirely into primary raw materials, electricity and heat. The project involves an investment of 125 million euros.

REKO invests 125 million euros in second plant

Waste to Chemicals

Air Liquide, Enerkem, Nouryon, Shell and the Port of Rotterdam are currently developing an advanced ‘waste-to-chemicals’ plant (W2C) in Rotterdam. The aim is that this will be the first plant of its type in Europe to transform non-recyclable waste into valuable chemicals and biofuels.

Everything about Waste to Chemicals

Circular Economy

The Port of Rotterdam Authority is strongly committed to an international position as a Waste-to-Value Port with many existing circular companies and new projects. The port area of Rotterdam is an attractive region for shaping the circular economy. The extensive network connections with the hinterland provide a strong starting point for the valorisation and re-use of residual flows. In practice, this mainly involves using green hydrogen on a large scale for the energy supply of industry and as a raw material in the chemical industry. In addition to being a hub for green electricity and hydrogen, the port will also be an import hub for secondary raw materials (waste, plastics) and sustainable biomass. After all, in addition to hydrogen, carbon is also needed for the production of products.

Read more about circular economy


The port of Rotterdam is an important port for the import of biomass to Europe. Wood pellets, the main product group for biomass, are mainly used in the European heat and energy market. Excellent connections for supply and transit, processing of biomass in the port, existing cargo flows and specialised transhipment and storage facilities make Rotterdam an attractive biomass hub.

Read more about biomass

Princess Amalia Viaduct

The 'Princess Amalia viaduct Maasvlakte' project creates a future-proof accessibility of the container terminals at the Amaliahaven and the more southerly part of Maasvlakte 2. For the creation of this viaduct, waste (beaumix) was used.

Read more about the construction of the Princess Amalia Viaduct and watch the video about the use of beaumix


Transport and digital solution projects

ESI Green Award

The Port of Rotterdam Authority rewards vessels that have a Green Award certificate by offering discounts on port dues.

Port of Rotterdam Authority makes greener sea-going shipping more accessible

Emission-free inland shipping

Rotterdam has excellent connections with the hinterland. This forms the basis for the inland shipping sector. To reduce inland shipping emissions, electric shipping is a challenging option.

With seven partners, the Port Authority is one of the initiators of the Green Circles programme, which aims to introduce interchangeable battery containers. Heineken will be the first user on the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp corridor. Various other parties are also working on hydrogen demonstration projects. The Port Authority is supporting all these initiatives, including with discounts on inland port dues.

Smart port

Digitisation is changing our world. Complicated? In Rotterdam, digitisation is used to further improve the efficiency and reliability of the logistics chain. In practice this results in lower transaction costs in booking cargo, as well as shorter sailing routes and accelerated handling of cargo.

Logistics platform connections enable us to create a smart port with a seamless flow of traffic and freight. This contributes to the competitive position, while a more efficient port also uses less energy.

Digitisation makes sea-going shipping more environmentally-friendly
Read more about our digital products and developments

Incentive Scheme Climate-Friendly Shipping

The Port of Rotterdam Authority initiated the Incentive Scheme for Climate-Friendly Shipping to create demonstration and other projects in Rotterdam in which new climate-friendly fuels are used in sea-going shipping. In total some € 5 million is available for shippers, shipping companies, fuel producers and suppliers, motor manufacturers and vessel owners. The scheme will run until the end of 2022.

Read all about this Incentive Scheme here

Creating success together
We started CO2-reduction projects, together with companies, knowledge institutes and governments, to make the Port of Rotterdam a sustainable main port.


Industry can switch to a CO2-neutral production method in three steps:

Step 1: have existing industry take all kinds of efficiency measures, use residual heat to heat homes and greenhouses, and capture CO2 and store this beneath the North Sea. At the same time, a lot of work needs to take place to develop and scale up all kinds of sustainable technologies.

Step 2: change the energy system: instead of using oil and gas for heating, industry can switch to electricity and green hydrogen.

Step 3: the replacement of fossil fuels with biomass, recycling ‘waste’ and using green hydrogen. As well as industry, the transport of freight also needs to become more sustainable. The Port Authority is developing a series of activities to help the logistics sector reduce CO2 emissions.

Three reports have appeared since 2017 that show that CO2-neutral industry and shipping are possible and how the port aims to work towards this. The first two are studies from the Wuppertal Institut (2017 and 2018). The third is a report from the Rotterdam-Moerdijk Regional Industry Table (2018).

The Port Authority uses an and/and approach: we aim to innovate the existing industry while also welcoming new, sustainable industry. The energy transition often demands new cooperative agreements, new technologies and new business models. We work in changing coalitions to realise concrete projects that ensure CO2 reduction. For the transition to other energy systems, mainly new infrastructure is needed: for heat, electricity, hydrogen, CO2 and steam. By realising this, Rotterdam will become a more attractive place for companies investing in clean production processes.


For more infomation on enerytransition, contact:

Nico van Dooren
Director Energy and Industry
Maike Akkers
Program Manager Energy Infrastructure
Ankie Janssen
Program Manager Alternative Fuels
Wilco van der Lans
Program Manager Renewables
Randolf Weterings
Program Manager Electrification and Hydrogen
Stijn Effting
Program Manager Renewable Chemicals and Fuels
Monique de Moel
Program Manager Circular Economy

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