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Comment Sustainability

Consortium receives funding to investigate offshore hydrogen production

By Mary Page Bailey |

 ITM Power plc (London), Ørsted A/S (Fredericia, Denmark), Siemens Gamesa (Zamudio, Spain) and Element Energy have been awarded €5 million in funding from The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH2-JU) under the European Commission to demonstrate and investigate a combined wind turbine and electrolyzer system designed for operation in marine environments.

The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (FCH2-JU), a public-private partnership of the European Commission, has awarded funding to the consortium behind the OYSTER project to investigate the feasibility and potential of combining an offshore wind turbine directly with an electrolyzer and transporting renewable hydrogen to shore. The consortium will develop and test a megawatt-scale fully marinized electrolyzer in a shoreside pilot trial. The project will be coordinated by Element Energy.

To realize the potential of offshore hydrogen production, there is a need for compact electrolysis systems 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 project will provide a major advance towards this aim.

The electrolyzer system will be designed to be compact, to allow it to be integrated with a single offshore wind turbine, and to follow the turbine’s production profile. Furthermore, the electrolyzer system will integrate desalination and water treatment processes, making it possible to use seawater as a feedstock for the electrolysis process.

The OYSTER project partners share a vision of hydrogen being produced from offshore wind at a cost that is competitive with natural gas (with a realistic carbon tax), thus unlocking bulk markets for green hydrogen making a meaningful impact on CO2 emissions, and facilitating the transition to a fully renewable energy system in Europe.

This project is a key first step on the path to developing a commercial offshore hydrogen production industry and will demonstrate innovative solutions with significant potential in Europe and beyond.

The project is planned to start in 2021 and run to the end of 2024. ITM Power is responsible for the development of the electrolyzer system and the electrolyzer trials, while Ørsted will lead the offshore deployment analysis, the feasibility study of future physical offshore electrolyzer deployments, and support ITM Power in the design of the electrolyzer system for marinization and testing. Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and Element Energy are providing technical and project expertise.

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