Van Leeuwen
The role of hydrogen in the energy transition

The role of hydrogen in the energy transition

The energy transition is a hot topic and hydrogen is increasingly mentioned as a fuel that has the potential of playing an important role in this transition. Many companies in the traditional oil and gas industry are currently researching the opportunities of hydrogen as a source of energy.

I am a project manager and have been working at Van Leeuwen in Zwijndrecht for more than 25 years. including 2 years at our Houston office. During my career I have gained a lot of experience in energy markets and have managed major projects related to the oil and gas industry. Lately, I have done research and deepened my knowledge of the hydrogen market. What are the demands of the customer and which role can Van Leeuwen play in this respect?

The complete package

Just as in the oil and gas industry it is of the utmost importance to understand the detailed material specifications. A lot of knowledge and experience is really required here. We also  advise our customers about possible alternatives. We do not only supply the pipes, but offer the  complete package including fittings and flanges for the production and transportation of hydrogen. Using the worldwide procurement network of the Van Leeuwen Pipe and Tube Group, we find the right mills that can produce the materials according to the specifications.

As is often the case for projects in the energy market, the services around the delivery of the material are equally important for the customer. For this purpose we have set up a dedicated and global project organization. Each project gets its own team of specialists who take care of sourcing and procurement planning and execution, expediting, inspections, material processing, temporary storage and batch delivery according to the customer’s schedule, including the supply of material test certificates and of other documents.
In order to monitor all these aspects well, we have developed our own project management database tool. For clear and transparent communication, the customer has one dedicated team for all aspects of the project led by a project manager like me!

Experts in pipeline coating

Almost every pipeline, whether above or below ground, needs to be coated to protect it from damage and rust. This is also applicable for hydrogen pipelines. Coatings can be both in- and external. Coatings often used are polyethylene, polypropylene, epoxy or cement, but there are many more. We have extensive knowledge about pipe coatings and access to a network of suppliers. We will not only ensure that the pipes are coated according to the specification, but we also know the right way of transporting and storing coated pipes. For temporary storage of large pipes, for example, we built special sand banks on our yard or we clad our storage racks with special wood and rubber tape. We also subcontract special lifting devices for handling of the coated materials. All measures to protect the coating!

Extending the hydrogen pipeline network in the Netherlands

At this moment I am responsible, together with my team, for a large hydrogen project. In Zwijndrecht we recently started delivering many kilometers of coated pipes for the extension of the existing underground hydrogen pipeline network in the Botlek area.

A decisive factor for the customer’s decision was the fact that Van Leeuwen meets all project specifications, and, even more important, that we are able to provide temporary storage on our large pipe yard in Zwijndrecht, near to the project site. This enables the customer to call off just-in-time deliveries to the contractor’s depot.

I am very proud to execute this interesting project in the Rotterdam region, our “own backyard”. The new experiences will make my work even more interesting. My personal expectation for the future of hydrogen? Hydrogen will play an important role in the transition to more sustainable energy resources. Next to wind and solar energy, hydrogen will be used on a large scale to provide energy for (industrial) production and for transportation means.


Interested in another recent pipeline project including special transport, storage and coating? Read our blog or watch our short video.



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