Hydrogen to replace natural gas in the Dutch villages De Rijp and Graft

Graft De Rijp.png

September 15, 2020

The Energy Cooperation Graft-De Rijp has recently launched a (research) project with the aim of replacing natural gas with hydrogen in the Dutch villages Graft and De Rijp. These villages are part of the Dutch municipality of Alkmaar. The hydrogen which would replace the usage of natural gas will be produced through electrolysis, by using solar and wind energy. 

Image: Graft by Wilma HW61 // Flickr

The Project


The project, named ‘De Groene Walvis’ (translation: The Green Whale), is aimed at replacing natural gas with hydrogen for the heating of all homes and utility buildings in Graft and De Rijp by 2025. 

The project is aiming at reducing the CO2 emissions by replacing natural gas by hydrogen to heat homes and utility buildings. Currently more than 9.000 tonnes of CO2 is produced annually in this area, which needs to be substantially reduced. Using hydrogen will substantially lower the amount of annual CO2 production as it will be produced through electrolysis by using solar and wind energy.

Most of the homes and buildings in this area have been built before 1960, making this a challenging project. The old city center areas contain approximately 2.750 homes and 660 buildings. Importantly, some of these buildings have a monumental status and can therefore not be significantly modified. 

Hydrogen as the best solution to replace natural gas in Graft and De Rijp


According to the parties involved in the project, hydrogen is a sustainable solution for villages with many historical buildings, such as Graft and De Rijp. The current pipeline infrastructure which is used for transporting natural gas to homes and utility buildings can be re-used for the transport of hydrogen. This way, no significant modifications are needed to make the homes and buildings ready hydrogen usage. Moreover, there is enough space for a hydrogen production facility outside of the old city centers, which will save transport costs and reduce emissions. 

The use of renewable hydrogen in place of natural gas would contribute significantly to the energy transition and help address the climate emergency, given that natural gas is now one of the larger sources of carbon emissions. The key feature of hydrogen is that when combusted it produces no carbon emissions and is therefore a low carbon alternative to natural gas.

Parties involved


The project is a collaboration of several companies and the local government. The Energy Cooperation Graft-De Rijp has taken the initiative to launch the project. The project is a collaboration between The Energy Cooperation Graft-De Rijp, H2Connect, TransitionHero, Alliander and the municipality of Alkmaar.  

For the full press release click here.