H2Hub Wallonia offers a regional vision on H2 initiatives in Wallonia in Belgium to ensure the rapid scale-up and delivery of a global hydrogen economy.
H2 & Stimulus Plan: towards an H2Hub Wallonia!
Driven by Europe in the framework of the Green Deal and as part of the various recovery plans at the Belgian and European levels, the development of the green hydrogen sector has begun in earnest in Wallonia in Belgium.
To support this sector and analyze the role of hydrogen in the energy transition in Wallonia, the TWEED Cluster (see below) set out to produce a "hydrogen roadmap" for Wallonia at the end of 2018 and is now structuring a club within the Cluster dedicated to hydrogen, the H2Hub Wallonia.
H2 & Recovery Plan
The Walloon Government supports the development of the H2 sector: the 2019 regional policy statement concludes that: "The Government will take initiatives to lay the foundations for the hydrogen and synthetic fuels economy." At the regional level, more than 160 million euros will be dedicated to the development of this new sector as part of the recovery plan. The Walloon Government agreed on the first selection of projects at the end of January 2021. Within this framework, a project for the deployment of a Walloon hydrogen industry is targeted with a "set of coherent sub-projects that cover the entire green hydrogen production industry as well as multiple applications of hydrogen as an energy carrier in the form of e-methane, e-methanol, e-kerosene as well as the adaptation of devices (engines, hydrogen tanks, fuel cells, among others) to allow for its use and its valorization."
These projects will target:
the research and development (R&D) of high-capacity electrolyzers,
the production of green e-methane from recovered CO2 via a CCU technology (First Industrial Development, or 'FID'),
the production of decarbonated e-kerosene (R&D and FID),
research for the development of a hydrogen combustion engine in certain applications
research for the implementation of a local hydrogen supply network and part of its implementation.
Hydrogen is one of the three technologies included in the "Low Carbon Industry" project in this same recovery plan. According to a press release from the Walloon Government, the plan aims to "adopt a mixed solution at the level of Walloon industry: electrification, H2 (production and use), CO2 (capture and use)."
Creation of an ecosystem
It is in this dynamic context that the TWEED Cluster is now structuring a dedicated club within the group to hydrogen, the H2Hub Wallonia. Following the example of what has been done in the framework of energy communities (CERACLE project), the objective of H2Hub Wallonia will be to pursue a transversal vision of the initiatives in development, to federate these initiatives, and to give visibility to the actors concerned.
The TWEED Cluster Gathering more than two hundred Wallonia & Brussels actors in the Renewable Energy sector, the first mission of the TWEED Cluster is to pave the way for the setting up of high-quality and industrial-size projects in the fields of production and exploitation of sustainable energy.
In sum, H2Hub Wallonia, empowered by TWEED, provides access to:
Cartography (value chain, roadmap, etc.)
Projects (follow-up on existing projects, calls for proposal, investment opportunities on an international level for Wallonian enterprises, etc.)
Networking meetings (information sessions, working groups, B2B sessions, seminars, webinars, or missions abroad)
Read more here.
H2Hub Wallonia falls into the Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3).
What is S3?
The concept of Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) was introduced by the European Commission as part of its growth and jobs agenda, with the aim of providing European regions with a new generation of regional research and innovation strategies. It is a strategic approach to economic development, allowing each region to identify and develop its own competitive advantages.
The European Commission asks that all European regions adopt an "S3" strategic framework for their innovation policies, asking:
What objectives are being pursued in the region?
What are the region's preferred areas of specialization?
What support and funding mechanisms are available for projects?
How does this strategy impact selection and evaluation processes?
The stakes are high: the adoption of a regional S3 enables access to funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF); the Commission has also strengthened the criteria related to this condition for the 2021-2027 programming.
Beyond that, the S3 constitutes a strategic framework for Wallonia's research and innovation policy and its industrial policy.
In addition, the principles of the S3 require the involvement of actors from the "quadruple helix", i.e. regional and local authorities, research and innovation actors, the business community, and civil society, all of which must work together to define priorities and work on the implementation of long-term growth strategies
In line with the S3, Wallonia has launched the process of renewing its S3 Strategy, both in terms of content and governance. An S3 working group, set up in July 2019, steers the process. This Working Group is composed of the SPW-Economy Employment Research (Directorate of Economic Policy and Directorate of Research Programs), Sowalfin, the Digital Agency and the Cabinet of the Minister of Research and Innovation, and is supported by the SPW-DCFS (Department of Coordination of Structural Funds), reinforcing links to the ERDF programming.
Read more about S3 here.
MIT REAP Team Wallonia
Part of the S3 strategy, MIT REAP Team Wallonia includes stakeholders from Wallonia-Brussels International (WBI), Wallonia Trade & Investment(AWEX), Administration of the Regional Government of Wallonia (SPW), University of Mons, La SMALA, AMB Ecosteryl, AGC Glass, Brussels South Charleroi BioPark, AGORIA, I-Care, LeanSquare, The Faktory Fund, and Société Régionale d’Investissement de Wallonie.
More on MIT REAP here.
The Region of Wallonia sits in the Southern part of Belgium and is primarily French-speaking. The Region is dedicated to fast-tracking its post-Covid-19 Recovery Plan labeled “Get Up Wallonia”. Acting as an overarching compass, the European Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) guides Wallonia’s strategic policy framework and aims at catalyzing long-lasting prosperity.