Ørsted and Siemens Gamesa Collaborate on Offshore Hydrogen Facility Powered by Wind Energy

‘Oyster’ project will produce and transport green hydrogen from an electrolyser located in the sea; wins €5m funding from EU

Ørsted and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy have collaborated with a consortium of other wind power companies to develop an offshore electrolyser that will be powered by wind energy. Dubbed the Oyster project, it has recently been awarded €5m in funding by the European Union’s ‘Horizon 2020’, a research and innovation fund. The electrolyser is expected to make its debut by 2024.

Offshore Wind to Hydrogen

Credit: Orsted Website

The Oyster project will aim to demonstrate the feasibility of operating an electrolyser located in the sea in combination with an offshore wind turbine. Seawater will be electrolysed to produce green hydrogen and desalinated water. In addition to this, the project will also explore transporting renewable hydrogen to shore. While designing the electrolyser, project partners will keep in mind aspects such as water desalination and corrosion resistance while ensuring a low carbon footprint. The challenge of this project is that for an offshore hydrogen facility to fulfil its potential, it must be compactly designed and be able to withstand strong offshore climatic conditions. Only when the facility has minimal maintenance requirements will it be able to meet its cost and performance targets.

Project partners hope that Oyster will help them produce affordable hydrogen that can offer viable competition to natural gas (assuming support from a realistic carbon tax), propelling large-scale markets for green hydrogen. 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.”

ITM Power will be developing the electrolyser and running the trials. Ørsted will analyse and monitor offshore operations and also study the feasibility of developing and operating more offshore electrolysers in the future. The firm is also expected to provide design, testing and marine adaptation services to ITM Power. Siemens Gamesa and Element Energy will support the project with their technical expertise. The Oyster project will aim to demonstrate the feasibility of operating an electrolyser located in the sea in combination with an offshore wind turbine. Seawater will be electrolysed to produce green hydrogen and desalinated water. In addition to this, the project will also explore transporting renewable hydrogen to shore. While designing the electrolyser, project partners will keep in mind aspects such as water desalination and corrosion resistance while ensuring a low carbon footprint. The challenge of this project is that for an offshore hydrogen facility to fulfil its potential, it must be compactly designed and be able to withstand strong offshore climatic conditions. Only when the facility has minimal maintenance requirements will it be able to meet its cost and performance targets.

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