Posted by Colin Weston at 18/01/2021 13:36:36
A green hydrogen consortium with huge Humber interests has been awarded £4.5 million to demonstrate the integration of electrolysers with offshore wind turbines.
Orsted, ITM Power, Siemens Gamesa and Element Energy have secured the investment from the European Commission to investigate the potential of piping back the zero carbon fuel from the farms alongside clean electricity.
Orsted, ITM and Element were already partners on Gigastack - a land-based development involving offshore wind power being harnessed by the onshore connection to power electrolysis - while Siemens Gamesa provides the huge turbines.
Named Oyster, this project will develop a megawatt-scale fully marinised electrolyser in a shoreside pilot trial. Site selection is anticipated in the coming months.
Anders Christian Nordstrøm, vice president and head of Ørsted's hydrogen activities, said: “To create a world that runs entirely on green energy, we need to electrify as much as we can. However, some sectors cannot decarbonise through electrification and that's where renewable hydrogen could play a significant role. Offshore hydrogen production could be a future, supplemental way of getting large amounts of energy generated from offshore wind power to shore.
“As the largest offshore wind company in the world, we're of course keen to better understand what it will take to produce renewable hydrogen offshore as a potential future supplement to production of renewable electricity. Having pioneered the offshore wind industry, we know that thorough analysis and testing are required before deploying new technologies at sea."
The consortium plans to overcome the challenges of producing a compact electrolysis system that can withstand harsh offshore environments and have minimal maintenance requirements, while still meeting cost and performance targets that will allow production of low-cost hydrogen.
The electrolyser system will be designed for integration within a single offshore wind turbine, following the established production profile. It will also integrate desalination and water treatment processes, making it possible to use seawater as a feedstock.
Sheffield-based ITM Power’s chief executive, Dr Graham Cooley, said: "ITM Power is delighted to be part of this exciting project, working alongside industry leaders to explore the potential to harness wind for offshore green hydrogen production."
The project will run until 2024. ITM is responsible for the development of the electrolyser system and the electrolyser trials, while Ørsted will lead the offshore deployment analysis, the feasibility study of future physical offshore electrolyser deployments, and support ITM in the design. Siemens Gamesa and Element Energy are providing technical and project expertise.
Michael Dolman, associate director at Element Energy, said: “Offshore wind is now one of the lowest cost forms of electricity generation in Europe and will have an important role in Europe's decarbonisation plans. There is growing interest in transporting renewable energy in the form of hydrogen, particularly for sites far from shore. Realising such a vision will require further development and innovations of the type to be demonstrated in the Oyster project, which Element Energy is pleased to coordinate.”
Together the partners are aiming for cost competition with natural gas, unlocking bulk markets for green hydrogen to make a meaningful impact on CO2 emissions, accelerating the transition to a fully renewable energy system in Europe and beyond.BartBiebuyck, executive director of FCH JU, said: "The Oyster project is a very exciting addition to the FCH JU pallet of electrolysis projects that will allow the development of an offshore-spec electrolyser for green hydrogen to be generated in the harsh offshore environment. The aim is the optimal integration of electrolysers with offshore wind turbines to store the energy generated in the form of hydrogen. We are absolutely delighted to support this innovative project which reduces the environmental impact in further industrial applications."