€5 Million Awarded to Study Feasibility of Offshore Green Hydrogen Production

The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership of the European Commission, has awarded €5 million (~$6.08 million) in funding to a consortium to explore the feasibility of offshore hydrogen production, ITM Power said in a press statement.

The consortium comprising ITM Power, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Orsted, and Element Energy will develop the OYSTER project. The OYSTER project aims to explore the potential of hydrogen production from offshore wind at a cost that is competitive with natural gas.

The consortium will explore the feasibility and potential of combining an offshore wind turbine directly with an electrolyzer to transport green hydrogen to shore.

The company said the consortium would develop and evaluate an MW-scale wholly marinized electrolyzer in a shoreside pilot trial, which would be coordinated by Element Energy.

The project aims to develop a compact electrolysis system that can endure the harsh offshore environment, have a nominal maintenance requirement, and satisfy cost and performance targets to produce low-cost green hydrogen.

According to its press statement, ITM Power will develop the electrolyzer system and conduct electrolyzer trials with the support of Orsted. Moreover, Orsted, a Denmark-based energy company, will conduct a feasibility study of physical offshore electrolyzers deployment and lead the offshore deployment analysis. Element Energy and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy will provide technical and project expertise.

The electrolyzer system’s design will be compact that can be blend with a single offshore wind turbine and follow its production profile. Moreover, the system will combine the desalination and water treatment process to utilize seawater as a feedstock for the electrolysis process.

ITM Power said that the project is scheduled to begin in 2021 and would run to the end of 2024. The consortium aims to produce hydrogen from offshore shore wind at a cost that is competitive with natural gas. This can be a primary step to develop a commercial offshore hydrogen production industry in Europe, and beyond, it added.

Micheal Dolman, Associate Director at Element Energy, said, “Offshore wind is now one of the lowest-cost forms of electricity generation and will have an important role in Europe’s decarbonization plans. There is growing interest in transporting renewable energy in the form of hydrogen, particularly for sites far from shore.”

The global pipeline of utility-scale green hydrogen developments- projects with capacities greater than 1 MW- now exceeds 60 GW, with 87% of this capacity coming from gigawatt-scale projects, according to Rystad Energy research.

According to a study by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, hydrogen produced from solar-powered equipment could be cheaper than fossil fuel-based production methods in a decade.