Hydrogen as a fuel for the future

Smart sustainable transport

Connecting sustainable mobility, infrastructure and production

Akzo Nobel

The transition to sustainable mobility combined with (renewable) energy sources is a worldwide challenge. Twynstra supports this transition through its close strategic involvement in sustainable transport programmes and projects, both for business and governmental organisations.


Initiating a hydrogen mobility project

In close cooperation with a global chemical producer, the Dutch government and regional bodies, we initiated the hydrogen mobility project in the north of the Netherlands. The project started three years ago and is now operational. The project consists of the realisation and operation of a hydrogen pipeline, a fuelling station and hydrogen busses for a period of at least five years.

A public-private partnership

Global chemical producer AkzoNobel is responsible for realising the physical output from the hydrogen plant and the constant supply of hydrogen. Port company Groningen Seaports is responsible for the construction and exploitation of the hydrogen pipeline. Fuel station building firm PitPoint (part of Total Group) is responsible for the new station for heavy-duty and light vehicles and sell the hydrogen to multiple customers. Public transport operator Qbuzz, commissioned by the Province of Groningen and OV-bureau, will run the hydrogen bus operation and fill the busses at the fuelling station.

This project is policy-based and supported by the regional government of Groningen, the Dutch national government and the European Commission. Twynstra’s role is also supported by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership between the European Commission and industry association Hydrogen Europe.

New business models for hydrogen

Through the realisation of this project several new business models emerged. First of all, the chemical producer is now capable of realising a new business model for the uptake of hydrogen from their chemical plant for transport purposes and at a higher value than blending hydrogen with natural gas. Secondly, the hydrogen infrastructure provider can exploit new business by selling hydrogen to customers. Thirdly, European vehicle manufacturers can deliver new fuel cell busses through a new production line. And lastly, a new type of innovative hydrogen infrastructure has been built with new certifications. This enables the private transport operator to win future concessions through the experience they have gained in sustainable mobility.

Carbon-free leads to economic growth

This project contributes to the hydrogen economy, which is facilitating the energy transition in terms of chemistry, transportation and electricity. This will lead to economic growth and benefit the goals of the Paris Agreement. By 2050, the Netherlands aims to achieve a carbon emission-free economy.

Our role

We were responsible for strategy, cooperation between partners, project management, facilitating decision-making and the project’s business modelling.

Main challenges

The main challenge of this project was to come up with a financeable business model suitable for the uptake of hydrogen by fuel cell vehicles for the period of the project that included the realisation and exploitation of infrastructure and a fuelling station, and the purchase and operation of hydrogen vehicles.

Twynstra methodology for public-private partnerships/multi-stakeholder governance

Based on our experience with public-private partnership projects, we developed a methodology for initiating and managing these types of working relationships. At the heart of this methodology are four critical success factors. If these factors are not met or are incorrectly implemented, the chances of a successful collaboration will deteriorate quickly.

The four critical success factors are:

  • Insight in interests
  • Public-private governance organisation
  • Transparency in business cases and value cases
  • Independent process management.


We were and still are committed to making this project a success. We have implemented the project using a variety of skills:

  • Strategy: we developed the strategy and implemented this
  • Managing change: realising a new vision and implementing this via change management processes
  • Organisation management: we developed the governance structure for the public-private partnership
  • Project management: from the outset, we developed a clear vision and cooperative approach with all public and private parties, which we managed for at least 3.5 years
  • Stakeholder analysis and management: we implemented several stakeholder management methods
  • Business modelling: We conducted the business modelling and build business cases.