Source: Deloitte

“The chemical industry is the mother of all industries,” says Deloitte. It is an industry that has to deal with significant carbon emissions, but also an industry that will be part of the solution towards a sustainable future. Deloitte advises start-ups, local and international companies in the chemical industry on sustainability, and looks at different pathways and opportunities in the sector to enable sustainability. Hydrogen is one of these opportunities, which will be an important piece of the puzzle to move towards a sustainable future and society.

If you look at the added value of the chemical industry per capita, Belgium has been leading the pack for years. In May 2020, BlueChem started with the ambition to further strengthen the future of this economically important sector in Flanders.

Frederik Debrabander

Deloitte is a strategic partner that advises start-ups, local and international companies with a wide range of professional services: strategic advice, technology implementations, accounting, legal and tax advice, financial and risk advisory. “We are convinced that we have a societal role to play by contributing to the sustainable transformation of the industry,” says Frederik Debrabander; Energy, Resources & Industrials Industry Leader. “I strongly believe that we can fulfil that role with our capabilities.”

The chemical sector impacts our daily life more than we might think. “There is no sustainable world without sustainable chemistry,” Frederik states. “The chemical industry is the mother of all industries.” Strategy Manager in Sustainability Brecht D’hont: “If we want to make shift towards a sustainable world, the chemical sector is an important part of the solution. Take for example the key role of the chemical industry in sustainable transport. Producing sustainable battery components, enabling recycling of batteries, and developing lighter high performance materials are just a few of the many examples.”


There is no silver bullet that will solve the climate crisis. But Deloitte sees hydrogen as an important piece of the puzzle in the energy transition. “The chemical industry is an important solution provider to enable sustainability, but at the same time it is responsible for significant CO2 emissions. Reducing these emissions systematically and becoming CO2 neutral by 2050 is an important yet enormous challenge for the sector.

Brecht D’hont

Different solutions need to be combined to achieve this goal, such as electrification, use of biomass, CO2 capture and recycling, but hydrogen will also play an important role,” explains Brecht. “Hydrogen and its derivatives can be used both as sustainable fuel and as feedstock. Not only for the chemical sector, but also for other sectors such as the steel sector, long-distance transport, shipping, aviation etc.

The big advantage? Hydrogen is not new. Today in Europe about 10 million tons of hydrogen is produced and consumed per year. By 2050 we predict that the demand for hydrogen in Europe will exceed 100 million tons due to the role that hydrogen can play in the energy transition. An important aspect is to ensure that this hydrogen is produced in a sustainable, reliable & economic viable way”

“This increasing demand for hydrogen is a great opportunity for chemical companies to make their product and service portfolio more sustainable moving forward. We recently published a point of view about this opportunity for the sector,” says Brecht. “Chemical companies can play a unique role in the future hydrogen value chain starting from their current core strengths, such as their global assets, highly integrated supply chains, engineering knowledge and know-how in products such as hydrogen, etc. The key challenge for this typically international sector is to explore new and existing local markets, target customers in a very customer-oriented way, and achieve a positive business case by making smart choices and by partnering with the right players across the value chain . Anyone who succeeds in this will be able to strengthen their competitive position in a sustainable manner, driven by the energy transition.”

In concrete terms, Deloitte is participating in the largest green hydrogen project in Europe, NorthH2, which aims to convert 4 gigawatts of offshore wind energy into green hydrogen by 2030. “4 GW is about double what is now produced in Belgium with offshore wind energy, highlighting the size of this project,” says Brecht. “Our task is analyzing different end markets for this green hydrogen in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, and translating this into a viable business case for the project. Deloitte is also involved in many other hydrogen projects. We have for example conducted a study for the Federal Public Service Economy and Federal Minister of Energy Tinne Van der Straeten on the role of gaseous energy carriers in a climate neutral Belgium.”

Read the report here