We are working towards a carbon neutral port in partnerships with companies. This demands radical innovation and new technologies. We test innovations in practice, apply new techniques and link existing companies to new ones. In the meantime, we are already taking measures to reduce emissions as far as possible in the short term. The following ongoing projects show that the port of Rotterdam is working full steam ahead towards the energy transition.
Step 1 - Energy transition
Ongoing projects, step 1
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. At the same time, industry in the Port of Rotterdam creates a lot of heat for industry processes. Part of this is reused in other factories, but most of the heat disappears into the air. The port of Rotterdam and Gasunie are working together to reuse this residual heat as a replacement for natural gas in households and greenhouses. CO₂ emissions will also be reduced, and less gas will be needed from Groningen.
16,000 Rotterdam households are being heated using residual heat from a refinery in Pernis. This is a Shell, Port of Rotterdam Authority and Warmtebedrijf Rotterdam initiative.
The capture of the greenhouse gas CO₂ for subsequent reuse or storage underground is one of the measures that the energy-intensive industry can take to considerably reduce CO₂ emissions in the short term. This is called Carbon Capture Storage or CCS. The Third Rutte cabinet coalition agreement and the Dutch Climate Agreement underline the importance of CCS in realising national climate objectives.
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.
The LyondellBasell and Covestro factory on the Maasvlakte produces raw materials for, among other things, insulation materials, paint and glue. Currently, the plant’s wastewater is incinerated. In the new plant, some 40% of that wastewater will be purified by bacteria. This creates such things as biogas. The other 60% of the wastewater will still be incinerated, but the released steam will be put to good use in the plant. The new plant will reduce the company’s CO₂ emissions by around 20%.
Step 2 - Energy transition
Ongoing projects, step 2
The largest concentration of wind turbines in South Holland is in the Rotterdam port area: around 200 MW capacity at the start of 2019. This is some 10 per cent of the total wind power capacity in the Netherlands. In the short term, at least 150 MW of new wind power will be added. 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 capacity that is almost double.
The Dutch government has decreed that by 2020, 14 per cent of Dutch energy production must be generated from renewable sources. 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.
Within the North Sea Wind Power Hub consortium, TenneT (The Netherlands and Germany), Energinet (Denmark), Gasunie and the Port of Rotterdam Authority are working on the development of a large-scale, sustainable European energy system on the North Sea. Wind farms will be connected to centrally located hubs at sea, and North Sea countries and hubs will be connected via cables or pipelines.
Sixteen parties are working within Project H-Vision largely from the Rotterdam port industrial area on a feasibility study into the production and use of blue hydrogen in the Rotterdam port area. The Port of Rotterdam Authority is affiliated as partner with H-Vision. H-Vision aims to provide industry with low-CO₂ energy before 2030, particularly by replacing natural gas with blue hydrogen and possibly also using residual gases.
BP, Nouryon (formerly AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals) and the Port of Rotterdam Authority are investigating the possibilities of producing green hydrogen for the BP refinery in Rotterdam. Green hydrogen is produced by electrolysis of water using green power. Large-scale production of green hydrogen requires huge amounts of green electricity, for example from offshore wind farms. This also demands substantial electrolyser capacity. That’s why the Port of Rotterdam Authority is also investigating the required hydrogen infrastructure, as well as the option for a special industrial site for electrolysers.
The Third Rutte cabinet coalition agreement agreed to stop using coal for electricity generation in the Netherlands by 2030. Two Uniper and Riverston (formally 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.
Blocklab, which specialises in blockchain in the Port of Rotterdam, is working on four innovation projects with solutions for the energy market. BlockLab aims to use these projects to contribute to accelerating the energy transition. Four prototypes have now been developed for the heat market, offshore wind farms, smart meters and consumers wishing to trade self-generated electricity.
The Port Authority is also contributing to an energy efficient port. A third of patrol vessels runs 100% on biofuel. We are also stimulating employees to travel by public transport or bicycle. For lease car drivers, a CO₂ standard of 59 g/km applies. The office uses heat from the port and green electricity. And throughout the port, the Port Authority is replacing the public lighting with LED.
Step 3 - Energy transition
Ongoing projects, step 3
Air Liquide, Enerkem, Nouryon, Shell and the Port of Rotterdam are currently developing an advanced ‘waste-to-chemicals’ plant 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.
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. The remaining bleaching earth can be used in building materials.
Rotterdam company REKO is constructing a new plant for the cleaning of contaminated asphalt. Asphalt is subject to thermal cleaning at the plant in a rotating drum oven at temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius. This produces clean sand, gravel and filler that can be reused. The plant also generates electricity for no fewer than 50,000 households. With this new plant, REKO will have the world’s largest capacity for recycling these types of contaminated building materials.
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.
Waste processing company Indaver not only processes and manages waste, it also goes a step further. The plant named IndaChlor processes chorine waste throughout Europe, including from industrial companies from the Port of Rotterdam. Chlorine waste is converted into new raw material and energy. These are supplied in a closed circuit to adjacent industry.
What to do with 300 tonnes of discarded fishing nets? This was one of the assignments for teams participating in Blue City’s 2018 Plastic Design Challenge, a Rotterdam breeding ground where start-ups develop initiatives to realise the circular economy step by step.
Ongoing projects, sustainable transport
IKEA, container company CMA CGM and GoodShipping - with support from the Port of Rotterdam Authority - have started a sustainable biofuel trial in container shipping.
Under the flag of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC), multinationals FrieslandCampina, Heineken, Philips, DSM, Shell and Unilever took the initiative to collaborate with AP Moller-Maersk to supply a container vessel with sustainable fuel. The pilot’s CO₂ savings are equivalent to the annual emissions of over 200 households or 12 million car kilometres.
For the first time, sustainable fuels producer GoodFuels and partner REINPLUS FIWADO Bunker have fully bunkered the inland vessel ‘For Ever’ with 100% advanced biofuel. This delivery demonstrates the user-friendliness of advanced biofuels and achieves considerable savings in CO₂.
Electric sailing is an option to reduce CO₂ emissions in inland shipping. 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.
Sea-going vessels that arrive in Rotterdam need power at the quay for the power supply on board. Diesel generators are currently usually used for this. The huge consumption of sea-going vessels makes the connection to a power grid more complex than for inland shipping. The Port of Rotterdam Authority considers it important that shore power is available for sea-going vessels, as this improves air quality. That is why a test location is being established. The Port Authority is working on this in partnership with the Municipality of Rotterdam. Companies Heerema, Eneco and the Port Authority have also started a feasibility study into green shore power in Calandkanaal.
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, and also to lower energy consumption through shorter sailing routes and accelerated handling of cargo.
Carbon neutral in 3 steps
The energy transition task is clear: We aim to bring the Port of Rotterdam in line with the Paris Climate Agreement objectives. Together with companies, we are working in 3 steps towards a carbon neutral port. Steps 1 to 3 are, respectively, efficiency & infrastructure, towards a new energy system and towards a new raw materials and fuel system.
Please contact the energy transition team.