The Municipality of The Hague has banned the use of hydrogen vehicles in the tender for target group transport. This while the current contractor Noot is deploying hydrogen vehicles on a large scale for the assignment. Petrol station Kerkhof from The Hague, where Noot purchases hydrogen, does not agree with this choice and therefore went to court. However, this was to no avail.

Kerkhof has two hydrogen pumping stations for passenger cars and trucks in The Hague. This hydrogen is obtained from OrangeGas. On August 3 2018 it was announced that the municipality was going to tender the target group transport again. The envisaged agreement has a term of six years with the option of extension for two one-year periods. The contract will go into effect on August 1 2018.

On 22 in May 2018 the municipality signed the Administrative Agreement Zero Emission Target Group Transport. In this it was agreed to make target group transport for 2018 emission-free. According to the municipality of The Hague, target group transport must be carried out with battery-electric vehicles to achieve this. Hydrogen vehicles were therefore excluded from the new specifications.

Efficiency hydrogen vehicles 2.5 times lower The choice to exclude hydrogen vehicles was explained in the third Memorandum of Information, which Kerkhof also received. This stated, among other things, that zero-emission transport with both battery-electric propulsion and hydrogen propulsion is possible. Both techniques meet the municipality’s objective of improving air quality in the city, but battery-electric vehicles are ‘much better’. In addition, the efficiency of hydrogen-powered vehicles from production to consumption is more than two and a half times lower than that of battery-electric vehicles.

The municipality further states that the production of green hydrogen is not sustainable in practice. is when there is no surplus of sustainably generated electricity. This would actually lead to more CO2 emissions. The idea of ​​the municipality is to use green hydrogen for processes where sustainability with electrification is not easily possible, such as industrial processes and possibly also for heavy transport.

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Contrary to European tender rules OrangeGas and In October and November 2018, Kerkhof urged the municipality by letter not to exclude hydrogen vehicles. According to Kerkhof, transport on hydrogen also falls under emission-free transport. In their view, prescribing one concrete technique, battery-electric in this case, is also contrary to European tendering rules.

According to them, the municipality would be able to offer equivalent solutions for this reason. have to make. MKB The Hague and VNO NCW West region The Hague are joining this. These parties have therefore also requested the municipality not to exclude hydrogen vehicles from the tender in advance and to leave the choice for emission-free transport to the market.

However, this was not complied with . The date of the award decision was further specified on 17 January 2021. This has prompted Kerkhof to go to court in December to demand that the municipality be banned from continuing the tender unchanged. Kerkhof argued that hydrogen vehicles should no longer be excluded.

No success However, this turned out to be unsuccessful. According to the court, it has not become sufficiently plausible that hydrogen vehicles offer an equivalent alternative to battery-electric transport. According to the court, the fact that hydrogen can form an alternative to fossil fuels and that the municipality can use green hydrogen despite the difference in efficiency does not mean that this should also be done in this tender.

Also it has not become plausible that Kerkhof could trust that the use of hydrogen vehicles would also be permitted in this tender. The fact that the municipality of Noot has allowed the use of hydrogen vehicles for target group transport during the course of the current agreement is insufficient for this. The judge therefore concludes that the exclusion of hydrogen vehicles for target group transport is not unlawful.

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