Local emission-free construction using hydrogen in the InnovA58 innovation zone
VolkerWessels is working towards an emission-free construction site and hydrogen can be one of the solutions. The urgency of emission-free construction has increased over the past few years, in part due to the NOx-crisis in the Netherlands. Fortunately some projects provide the opportunity to develop innovative solutions that will contribute to the goal of eventually building entirely emission-free. One of these projects is InnovA58, which aims to develop innovative new solutions in preparation of the planned expansion of the A58 highway from two to three lanes between Tilburg and Eindhoven.
In our field there is a lot of interest in hydrogen as an emission-free power supply for construction. As such we joined forces with various partners, including Bredenoord, to explore the possibilities in this field in a safe environment.
Not only does this construction project involve circular roadside construction solutions and electric machinery, the innovation zone is also the pilot location for Bredenoord’s newest hydrogen genset: the Hydrogen Power. This innovation powers the crew wagons and various electric cars and tools. There was no grid connection present on location, which made the Hydrogen Power the most interesting solution for locally generating power without emission. In the end hydrogen will only contribute to meeting emission goals if it is produced sustainably and delivered emission-free to the construction site.
Thomas van Riet, Specialist Energy Technology at VolkerWessels, focuses on expanding the possibilities for emission-free construction. “One of the possibilities I wanted to investigate in this field was working with hydrogen in fuel cells. I notice that the construction sector occasionally focuses on hydrogen as a solution for our future, but the feasibility of this currently not sufficiently being put to test. But then I found Bredenoord and discovered they already developed such a solution in the past: the Purity. The power provided by the Purity would be insufficient for construction projects but I decided to contact Bredenoord nonetheless. I started talking to Zef Jansen and he told me that Bredenoord was ready for a field test with their new hydrogen-fueled power solution: the Hydrogen Power. Together we decided to start an R&D project, because this innovation could provide a far more sufficient amount of power for fields such as construction.”
Chain cooperation for emission-free construction
In addition to Bredenoord and VolkerWessels various other parties were involved in this process, including Rijngas, Nedstack and two subsidiaries of VolkerWessels: Gebr. Van Kessel and Aveco de Bondt. Because, as van Riet explains, all parties involved in this chain cooperation noticed a clear demand for further research into the potential of this kind of solution. “For example, I knew various large, public clients are very interested in the options for emission-free construction and the role hydrogen can play in this process. As such, we joined forces to show the market all that is possible in this field, naturally all in a safe environment. In the end our tender process was awarded with the highest possible score for sustainability. This confirmed that this application meets the needs of our clients.”
One of the challenges of working with hydrogen is arranging the required permit in time. Extensive discussions with the Omgevingsdienst (environmental services) and the municipality of Oirschot allowed us to prove that our methods would be entirely safe. As a result of this project Bredenoord and VolkerWessels now have a blueprint for all future permit application procedures, allowing us to shorten this process significantly. “During the entire trajectory we maintained close contact with the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat),” says van Riet.
Stable energy from hydrogen through the combination of batteries and fuel cell technology
Zef Jansen, Account Manager Solutions at Bredenoord, is enthusiastic about this project as well. “What makes the Hydrogen Power unique, is its combination of batteries and fuel cell technology. The energy obtained from hydrogen is used to charge the battery, which then delivers the energy to our client’s applications. This project uses the Hydrogen Power to power the crew wagons and electric tools and vehicles. Due to this combination of batteries and fuel cell technology the Hydrogen Power is very stable,” Jansen explains.
Naturally we fully trust our Hydrogen Power. And still we decided to also set up a 35 kVA genset as a backup, since this is our first long-running field test. This way we ensure that our client will always have access to power, even in the case of a malfunction.
This is our first commercial pilot with the Hydrogen Power. Jansen explains: “We have already completed an endurance test at our headquarters in Apeldoorn, which proved that we ourselves and the Hydrogen Power were ready for the real deal. For this we went through an extensive process to provide all the information, to prepare documents for the permits and to make arrangements with Rijngas about the hydrogen supply. The latter was a particularly essential part of this process. Merely supplying the hydrogen isn’t enough. Rijngas delivered a hydrogen tank exchange system and also agreed to swap out the bundles on location after each delivery. Now that everyone in this chain knows what to expect of each other we will be able to start future projects a lot faster.”