Working closely with partner Zentech Incorporated in Houston, a leading designer of jack-ups and other offshore units, France-based DYG Energy has unveiled preliminary details of a jack-up rig designed to bunker offshore wind vessels with hydrogen
The Hydrogen Mobile Offshore Production Unit or ‘H2MOPU’ concept developed by DYG Energy and Zentech Incorporated would enable production, storage and bunkering of hydrogen at sea. It would be connected to offshore renewable energy infrastructure such as an offshore windfarm or shore-power connection, enabling hydrogen to be produced offshore using electrolysers.
DYG Energy founder and chief executive Denis Grynzspan told OWJ the first H2MOPU could be in operation by 2026, given support from its network of partners and customers.
Mr Gynzspan founded DYG Energy in 2019 and spent 20 years in the offshore energy industry, working for industry leaders such as Alstom in areas such as electrification and digitalisation.
Interest in using hydrogen as a fuel in the offshore wind industry has grown rapidly as owners seek to provide green vessels for a green industry. As Mr Grynzspan noted, developers and asset owners are also increasingly keen to charter fuel-efficient, hybrid designs with reduced emissions. Using hydrogen to power fuel cells is one way of achieving this and could ultimately lead to ‘zero-emissions designs.’
A number of leading vessel owners are already building fuel cell-ready designs. These include Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea which recently secured approval in principle from three class societies for its ‘ECO-WTIV’ wind turbine installation vessel, a low-emissions design that combines the use of liquified natural gas (LNG)-powered engines and fuel cells.
Norway-based Edda Wind has adopted an ingenious solution to storing hydrogen on the service operation vessels it is building. The hydrogen will be used to power fuel cells, enabling the ships to operate in zero-emissions mode. It anticipates bunkering at sea with hydrogen stored in liquid organic hydrogen carriers. Another Norwegian firm, Rem Offshore, is building a hybrid vessel with a battery pack and space allocated for the installation of fuel cells.
Other vessel owners, including those operating crew transfer vessels (CTVs), are exploring hydrogen propulsion. Danish shipping company MHO-Co is leading a consortium that has been awarded €4.5M (US$5.3M) for a three-year project to develop green solutions for offshore vessels. These include new types of batteries and tests on fuel cells.
Mr Grynzspan told OWJ, “We are talking to a number of owners and developers. The H2MOPU concept has aroused great interest from owners of green vessels and windfarm owners.
“Now is also an ideal time to be considering ways to repurpose jack-ups, with a significant number of them approaching the age at which they face being scrapped unless new uses for them are found. Preliminary discussions have also been held with class societies regarding the concept.
“The biggest issue facing vessel owners that want to use hydrogen as a fuel is the lack of infrastructure to bunker vessels. There is little infrastructure onshore, and nothing offshore. We aim to provide a solution to that, enabling them to bunker with hydrogen while in a windfarm.”
Mr Grynzspan said a number of options are available for bunkering vessels but lifting containerised solutions on to and off vessels from the H2MOPU is potentially the most straightforward. Empty containers would be lifted off the deck of a CTV using a crane on the jack-up and replaced with a container charged with compressed hydrogen.
“We want to create a circular ecosystem for hydrogen offshore,” Mr Grynzspan told OWJ. Although ‘island mode’ turbines are being developed that would use electrolysers integrated into them to produce green hydrogen rather than transmit electrons ashore, he anticipates the hydrogen the H2MOPU would produce, store and bunker offshore vessels with would be produced by electricity from an offshore substation in the first instance.
Power for the electrolysers could also be provided from shore if circumstances allow and the jack-up could also provide a range of other services while on station in a windfarm.
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