Hydrohub MegaWatt Test Centre

In a new centre located in the Energy Transition Centre (EnTranCe) of Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen – the so-called Hydrohub – TNO will investigate the large-scale, sustainable production of hydrogen through water electrolysis.

The Hydrohub is an initiative of the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT), in which 13 organisations work together, including TNO (see the image below). These organisations have clustered their strengths to enable the large-scale, CO2-free production of hydrogen to take place cost-effectively in the Netherlands by 2030. This is an important step towards achieving the climate objectives.

Hydrohub MegaWatt test centre
Hydrohub located in the Energy Transition Centre (EnTranCe) of Hanze University of Applied Sciences

It involves an open research centre, where (in addition to the partners of the consortium) other knowledge institutes and companies can research and test innovations from their own labs using electrolysis installations with a capacity of half a megawatt. Research on this scale makes it clear if new problems will arise and how the technology will behave when scaled up. According to the initiators, once the electrolysis technology in the Hydrohub is working well, it can quickly be transformed into an electrolysis plant on an industrial gigawatt scale.

Green hydrogen production

In the Netherlands, industry produces around 800,000 tonnes of hydrogen annually for use in its own production processes. This is currently achieved by converting natural gas into hydrogen and CO2 at high temperatures. By switching to the electrical production of hydrogen, industry is killing two birds with one stone: CO2 emissions and the use of natural gas are both being reduced drastically. This requires electrolysis plants that can convert water into hydrogen and oxygen cheaply and efficiently on a large scale through the help of sustainably-generated electricity.

Low temperature water electrolysis

TNO and partners are researching the development of Alkaline and Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolysis technology. These are the two technologies that are currently available commercially, but both still need to be significantly reduced in terms of cost in order to be applied on a large scale.

Stacks of electrolysis cells are installed in both types. For the stacks installed in the Hydrohub, it’s important that the size of the cells is representative of the size of the current commercial systems. Through an understanding of the scalability of the electrolysis process, it will soon be possible to apply the results obtained with smaller cells in the lab to the performance of large systems. This is an important step in accelerating the implementation of innovations from the lab in commercial systems.

Upscaling is necessary

The currently-available electrolysis plants, with a capacity of several megawatts, are far too small to supply industry with hydrogen. In order to switch completely to sustainable hydrogen, industry needs electrolysis plants with a total capacity of many gigawatts (1 gigawatt = 1000 megawatt). These plants must be relatively cheaper to procure and much smarter than the current small plants. In addition, they must be reliable and low-maintenance.

More knowledge is available

In the electrochemical laboratory in Petten, called the ‘Faraday lab’, TNO is working (among other things) on the development of hydrogen production with the aid of PEM electrolysis. How can we use cheaper and readily available materials while at the same time increase the lifespan and efficiency of the electrolysis process? The development is being carried out alongside Dutch suppliers of membranes and coatings, for example. It involves, for instance, using endurance tests to investigate innovative materials on a small scale, but also looks at how the manufacturing processes for electrolysers can be improved and scaled up.

Together, these aspects lead to improvements in the design of the electrolyser, which ultimately have to be applied on a representative scale. The combination of the Faraday laboratory and the Hydrohub research centre serves to ensure that more knowledge and experience will become available regarding the development and implementation of hydrogen production through water electrolysis. TNO leads the research in the field of PEM electrolysis within the Hydrohub and also provides the facilities of the Faraday lab.

CO2-free production throughout the chain

The development of affordable hydrogen production technology forms an essential step in the industrial transition to sustainable circular production, in which fossil raw materials and energy carriers make way for sustainably-produced raw materials and energy carriers.

From the optimisation of hydrogen production in the Faraday lab to the use of hydrogen in mobility and its application in the chemical industry within the VoltaChem programme, TNO is active across the entire hydrogen chain. The upscaling activities in the Hydrohub are an important link in the chain between materials research and application.


The production of hydrogen from renewable energy sources requires a dynamic operation of electrolysers. Process control plays an important role in this. Besides the construction of the Hydrohub MegaWatt Test Centre TKI Energy & Industry recently commissioned a first project.

The Hydrohub partners, including TNO, model and investigate the impact of the variable operation of the electrolyser on performance and the electricity grid. In this project TNO develops the control model. The aim is improving the overall operational efficiency of electrolysis for green hydrogen production.

Get inspired

12 resultaten, getoond 1 t/m 5

Time setters: 200 times less iridium needed for green hydrogen production

1 June 2023

In this episode of Time setters, we speak to time setter Lennart van der Burg, Cluster Manager for Green Hydrogen, about the breakthrough development in electrolysers and how we can produce green hydrogen on a larger scale.

The Netherlands takes the lead in development of third-generation electrolyser

31 May 2023

In the 'Third-generation electrolyzers' project, a consortium led by TNO is developing a completely new type of electrolyser. This new design will offer higher efficiency, lower costs and a circular design, with the aim of facilitating large-scale production of green hydrogen.

Combining offshore wind and floating solar to reduce costs of green hydrogen

28 February 2023

The recently granted innovative research project SENSE-HUB, led by TNO, addresses the integration of various energy system modules for the Dutch North Sea. The synergies between offshore wind, offshore solar and hydrogen production at sea will be considered.

North Sea countries unite forces to accelerate offshore hydrogen production

10 February 2023

Commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, TNO researched the benefits of a shared approach by the North Sea countries, and how conversion into hydrogen at sea can be used to better unlock the potential of energy from the North Sea.

Breakthrough electrolyser development: 200 times less iridium needed

24 October 2022

Produced via electrolysis using electricity from the sun and wind, green hydrogen has a crucial role to play in the energy transition. Iridium is a scarce material that is presently essential to electrolysers working with the commonly used Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) technology.