Ørsted, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Element Energy and ITM Power have been awarded €5M (US$6M) in funding by the European Commission to demonstrate a combined wind turbine and electrolyser system
The funds were awarded through the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (FCH2-JU), a public private partnership led by the European Commission.
The project partners will investigate the feasibility of integrating an electrolyser into an offshore wind turbine, using the electrolyser to produce green hydrogen offshore, and transport it to shore.
The consortium will use an onshore pilot project to develop and test a megawatt-scale, fully marinised electrolyser. That project will be co-ordinated by Element Energy.
The electrolyser will be designed to be compact, to allow it to be integrated into a turbine, and to follow the turbine’s production profile. Desalination and water treatment equipment will also be integrated into the turbine, making it possible to use seawater as a feedstock for the electrolysis process.
The project is due to start in 2021 and run until the end of 2024. ITM Power is responsible for developing the electrolyser system and electrolyser trials.
Ørsted will lead offshore deployment analysis, conduct a feasibility study on offshore electrolyser deployment, and support ITM Power in the design of the electrolyser system.
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and Element Energy are providing technical and project expertise.
Ørsted vice president and head of green hydrogen production Anders Christian Nordstrøm 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 is where renewable hydrogen could play a significant role. Offshore hydrogen production could provide another way to bring large amounts of energy generated from offshore wind to shore.”
ITM Offshore chief executive Dr Graham Cooley said, “ITM Power is delighted to be part of this exciting project, working alongside industry leaders to explore the potential to harness wind for offshore green hydrogen production.”
FCH JU executive director Bart Biebuyck described the Oyster project as an exciting addition to the FCH JU’s electrolysis projects. “The aim of the project is the optimal integration of electrolysers with offshore wind turbines to store the energy generated in the form of hydrogen,” he said.
Element Energy associate director Michael Dolman said, “Offshore wind is one of the lowest cost forms of electricity generation in Europe and will have an important role in Europe’s decarbonisation plans.
“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.”
The FCH2-JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Hydrogen Europe, and Hydrogen Europe Research. It is a public-private partnership supporting research, technological development, and demonstration activity in fuel cell and hydrogen energy technology in Europe. Its aim is to accelerate introduction of these technologies, realising their potential as an instrument in achieving a carbon-clean energy system.