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Offshore production of renewable hydrogen

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In a groundbreaking collaboration Nel and partners aim to harness offshore wind energy to produce renewable hydrogen in an offshore environment.

This initiative, located 13 km off the coast of the Netherlands, is a significant step towards accelerating the energy transition in the North Sea by leveraging existing oil and gas infrastructure.

A landmark project

PosHYdon is a collaboration of 15 partners from both public and private organizations who are committed to demonstrating the feasibility of offshore hydrogen production. This project will use a working oil and gas platform to test the production of hydrogen from offshore wind energy, utilizing desalination equipment to turn seawater into demineralized water for the electrolyser.

"PosHYdon is teaching us a lot about the next steps that need to be taken towards safe, large-scale green hydrogen production from wind at sea."

“PosHYdon is a collaboration of 15 partners from public and private organisations who all believe in the value of renewable hydrogen from offshore wind in an offshore environment and want to collaborate to demonstrate that this technology can be realised to accelerate the energy transition in the North Sea,” says Nel’s CCO Todd Cartwright.

The Nel electrolyser, with a capacity of 1.25 MW, is expected to produce around 400 kg of hydrogen per day—enough to fuel approximately 10 metropolitan buses. Although modest compared to the eventual market requirements, this 12-month sea trial will provide invaluable insights into the technology gaps that need to be addressed for commercial-scale offshore electrolysers and associated energy infrastructure.

Recycling existing infrastructure

One of the project’s core strategies is to make efficient use of existing platform and pipeline infrastructure. This not only reduces the need for new offshore constructions but also leverages the existing oil and gas installations for a more sustainable future. The hydrogen produced will be transported to shore via an existing pipeline, aiding in the decarbonization of the industry in the Netherlands.

"Offshore hydrogen production has an enormous amount of potential. If you look at the projections, it’s supposed to grow substantially over the next 10-20 years."

Onshore testing and future plans

The PosHYdon pilot kicked off successfully in early May with an onshore test at the premises of InVesta in Alkmaar. This pilot aims to produce green hydrogen on an operational gas platform in the Dutch North Sea, marking the first time that three offshore energy systems will be integrated, and hydrogen will be transported to land together with gas via an existing pipeline.

“PosHYdon is a perfect example of system integration in the North Sea. In many studies, hydrogen is considered the missing link in the energy transition, with many talking about all the opportunities. But here, right off the coast of Scheveningen, it will actually take place later this year. PosHYdon is teaching us a lot about the next steps that need to be taken towards safe, large-scale green hydrogen production from wind at sea,” says René Peters, Business Director Gas Technologies TNO and initiator of the North Sea Energy Program.

After the onshore testing period, the electrolyser will be transferred offshore to the Q13a-A platform, with first offshore hydrogen production planned for Q4 this year.

Looking ahead

PosHYdon is not just a pilot project; it is a crucial stepping stone towards the commercialization of offshore hydrogen production. By scaling up from this small 1.25 MW pilot to potential commercial scales of 500 MW or more, the lessons learned from PosHYdon will be instrumental in achieving these ambitious goals.

Nel has been involved in the PosHYdon project for several years, focusing on the hydrogen production unit associated with the platform.

“This is a landmark project and Nel Hydrogen’s grateful to be associated with it,” says Todd Cartwright.

The projections for offshore hydrogen production indicate substantial growth over the next 10 to 20 years, and projects like PosHYdon are paving the way for this future.

“Offshore hydrogen production has an enormous amount of potential. If you look at the projections, it’s supposed to grow substantially over the next 10-20 years and we think this is just a stepping stone to a much bigger market,” Cartwright adds.

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