ITM Power, Ørsted, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, and Element Energy have joined forces to investigate the feasibility and potential of combining an offshore wind turbine directly with an electrolyser and transporting renewable hydrogen to shore.
Under the name OYSTER project, the companies have received €5m in funding from The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), a public private partnership of the European Commission, to help operations .
In a statement released today (8th Jan), the group said the electrolyser 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.
The electrolyser system will further integrate desalination and water treatment processes, making it possible to use seawater as a feedstock for the electrolysis process.
“ITM Power are delighted to be part of this exciting project, working alongside industry leaders to explore the potential to harness wind for offshore green hydrogen production,” said Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power.
“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,” added Anders Christian Nordstrøm, Vice-President and Head of Ørsted’s hydrogen activities.
“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.”
Collectively, the consortium recognises the 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.
Each playing a key role in the effort, ITM Power will be responsible for the development of the electrolyser system and the electrolyser trials. Ørsted will lead the offshore deployment analysis, the feasibility study of future physical offshore electrolyser deployments, and support ITM Power in the design of the electrolyser system for marinisation and testing.
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and Element Energy will provide technical and project expertise.
“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,” commented Michael Dolman, Associate Director at Element Energy.
“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,” he continued.
The project is planned to start in 2021 and run to the end of 2024.